In theory, Darrelle Revis and Tom Brady should have a lot in common.
The two have been rivals for nine seasons and teammates for one, in 2014, when the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Each has been considered among the best, if not the best, ever to play his position. And each says he has incredible respect for the other.
Yet all those years of history didn’t stop Brady from becoming the latest quarterback to exploit the fact that the 31-year-old Revis no longer is the dominant defensive back he once was. It was Revis who allowed Brady’s two touchdown passes, both to rookie Malcolm Mitch ell, as the Patriots defeated the Jets, 22-17, on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“Me and Tom, we definitely have a mutual respect for each other and I definitely know he likes to compete as much as me,” Revis said afterward. “If you look at me and our matchups against each other, he’s had his fair share of touchdowns thrown on me and I’ve had my fair share of interceptions. It’s something of two guys just being very competitive.
“This time he attacked me a little bit more than I expected, but at the same time, it’s football. He has to execute and I have to execute better on my end.”
Brady, 39, almost seemed to lay a trap for Revis, ignoring him until something big had to happen. Revis said the first time the Patriots targeted him was in the second quarter in what resulted in a 4-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell. Brady dropped the snap on the play, but he picked up the ball and found Mitchell on a crossing pattern in the back of the end zone.
They again went after Revis on the touchdown that gave the Patriots a 22-17 lead with 1:56 left in the game.
“We stacked the receivers and Darrelle kind of played over the top of it,” Brady said. “And we did a good job of breaking flat on that quick out there. Malcolm made a nice catch and got in the end zone.”
Revis stopped short of taking a whole lot of responsibility on the last touchdown, saying it was his job to guard the inside.
“Zero coverage,” he said. “We have to protect the inside. There’s no middle safety on the field. Protecting the inside and they ran an out route. Great execution by those guys seeing what coverage we were in and basically executing when they needed to.
“I could have played an outside technique, but I am leaving the middle of the field open. Definitely on that play, the rush is supposed to get there. It was a blitz. Zero blitz.
“Things happen down there fast in the red zone. Eye coordination, everything has to be P’s and Q’s, your antennas have to be up. It’s just a great play. Great throw, great play.”
Despite all the reports of bad blood between Revis and the Patriots from the one season the cornerback played there, Brady said he has nothing but respect for Revis.
“He’s a great player,’’ Brady said. “He’s been a great player for a long time. I have a lot of respect for him, what his abilities are. And um, I thought he played really well.”