Darrelle Revis saw his mark, Miami receiver Brandon Marshall, stumble a bit as he ran a double post in the end zone. That was all the cornerback needed to intercept the pass. “I started running, made one cut, I saw daylight and kept running.”
All the way to the Jets' end zone.
“That was huge,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “Any time you can turn a red zone reception into points, that’s a huge play.”
Revis' 100-yard interception return matched the longest in team history -- Aaron Glenn did it against the Dolphins on Sept. 15, 1996 -- and highlighted the cornerback's huge game. Revis scored the first touchdown in the 24-6 win over Miami during a first quarter in which the Jets' offense moved with all the precision of a Swiss-made watch -- after it has been run over repeatedly by a Hummer.
So as the Jets' offense struggled and Miami’s marched, Revis stuck like glue to Marshall in the end zone, where the wideout went 0-for-3 on his first three passes -- all on third down -- including one drop. It was the busiest first quarter the Jets cornerback could remember.
“They came at me a lot today,” Revis said. “I like to compete; I want balls to be thrown at me so I can get opportunities to make plays. I felt that they were going to come at me anyway, didn’t matter who the quarterback was. Just going up against Brandon -- he’s their No. 1 receiver. He’s the key player on their offense.”
Marshall got yards, all told, 109 on six catches. Only 63 of those were against Revis, and Marshall was targeted 13 times.
“That was a great matchup between Brandon and Darrelle,” Ryan said. “The kid’s a heck of a receiver. It was a great matchup, and I thought Revis did a tremendous job, especially in the red zone for us.”
The two are friends off the field. During the week leading up to the game, Marshall made some tongue-in-cheek comments about how angry he would get during the game, and expected to be ejected in the second quarter. Instead, he spent much of the game talking to Revis.
“We had about 30 conversations, TV timeouts,” Revis said. “The one play where me and him got tangled up with the ball, we were talking then. He was like, ‘That’s a catch,’ and I said, ‘No, that’s not a catch; it hit the ground,’ and I said I had my hand on it. He was laughing then. It was good, it was good competition; it’s always good to play against Brandon.”
That play came on third-and-4 in the fourth quarter after Marshall made a 6-yard catch for a first down. The Jets challenged the call, however, and it was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass.
Revis intercepted a ball intended for Clyde Gates with 4:22 left in the fourth quarter, a bookend on the game. It was the kind of performance that gives him a free pass from criticism by fellow captain Santonio Holmes.
“I’m definitely glad that my team and my guy, Revis, came out on top with two interceptions today,” Holmes said. “He played really big for the defense.”
Linebacker Calvin Pace was another highlight on the defense, with seven combined tackles and two sacks. Ryan had told the defense it needed to look for opportunities to turn plays into points, something that carried the Jets until quarterback Mark Sanchez got the ball moving downfield late in the second quarter.
“Couldn’t lose four in a row; I tell you that,” Pace said. “We knew that definitely we had to step our game up way more than we had in the last three weeks. They made some plays, but the thing I’m most proud of we handled adversity very well, and we finished. We finished the game the way you’re supposed to finish, with sacks and turnovers.”