Truism No. 1: It’s only one game, and many generations of NFL fans have been led astray by assuming the worst — or best — after their team’s opener. So let’s hold off on scheduling the Darrelle Revis retirement news conference, shall we?
Truism No. 2: Even after only one game, it is entirely reasonable for Jets fans to wonder if Darrelle Revis ever again will be the superstar cornerback they have known and trusted.
Oh, and this: After Revis was fricasseed by the Bengals’ A.J. Green yesterday in the Jets’ 23-22 loss at MetLife Stadium, the next visitor to Revis Island come Thursday will be an old nemesis: the Bills’ Sammy Watkins.
When it was over yesterday, Green had 12 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown — mostly with Revis assigned to him — but Revis did what cornerbacks must do in trying to put it all in perspective: He put it all behind him.
He did admit the obvious, though: “It probably wasn’t one of my better games.”
When asked if he thought Green had gotten the better of him, he said, “He had a great game. I can take a punch on the chin . . . They game-planned a lot. They said they’d been watching film of me the whole offseason.”
Green apparently left his cocky-NFL-receiver handbook at home because he took the high road, saying of Revis, “The guy has nothing else to prove. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, for sure. I’m trying to get where he is.”
It was a strange afternoon for the Jets’ defense, which enjoyed a spectacular effort from the linemen and a disjointed effort from the secondary, which yielded two 54-yard pass completions and one 49-yarder.
Revis hardly was the only one at fault, including on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Green. True, Green ran right by Revis and had extra time to wait for the ball to land. But there was more to it than that, as evidenced by safety Marcus Gilchrist standing in the middle of the field pointing somewhere while Green and Revis ran past him.
“Busted coverage,” Revis said. “Miscommunication,” Gilchrist said, a word he used any time he was asked for specifics.
Green’s final dagger was a key play. The Bengals, trailing 22-20, had a third-and-13 at the Jets’ 40 — out of field-goal range — with just over a minute left when Green lined up on the right side opposite Revis. Approximately 100 percent of the people watching expected Dalton to look for Green. That would include Green himself. “Oh, yeah, I knew it was coming to me,” he said. “It had to.”
Result: an 11-yard completion that facilitated Mike Nugent’s game-winning 47-yard field goal.
“He ran a route like he was doing a slant and broke it back out,” Revis said. “I tried to execute it the best I could and he made a play. I tackled him before the first down, and that was it.”
For most of Revis’ career, everyone knew the ball had to not go where he was. But times change.
The loss was a group effort, complete with a blocked 22-yard field-goal try and a missed extra point, along with red-zone sputters, a mediocre outing for Ryan Fitzpatrick and a strangely quiet day for Brandon Marshall. But by late in the game, “A.J. Green” was trending nationally on Twitter. Not a good sign for the guy covering him.
Revis said the Jets expected the Bengals to move Green all over, which they did, and Revis mostly followed. “They spread us out,” he said. “They disguised a lot of formations. They would do a lot of shifts and motions.”
What will all of that mean on Thursday night? Who knows?
See Truism No. 1 for hope. See Truism No. 2 for dread.
Revis said it was a tough day for the secondary but added that he is not concerned about himself or his colleagues. “I definitely have confidence in the secondary that we have,” he said.
The rest of us are free to wonder.
A.J. Green vs. Jets yesterday:
12 Catches (on 13 Targets)
54 Long (TD)