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Revis again shows he can handle tall task

Cornerback Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York

Cornerback Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets runs after making an interception against the San Diego Chargers. (January 17, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

SAN DIEGO - SAN DIEGO - That stuff about a good little man not being able to handle a good big man? The size is relative, of course, but for Darrelle Revis, considered small at 5-11, all the talk is just so much talk.

The San Diego Chargers' receivers could play in the backcourt in the NBA. Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson are 6-5 and Antonio Gates is 6-4. And early in Sunday's divisional-round playoff game against the Jets, they were effective, although their catches produced a lot of yardage but only seven points.

"They tore us apart a little bit,'' said Revis, the Jets' shutdown cornerback. "We were playing too much zone. We needed to play some man coverage.''

And so they did. The Chargers, who gained 212 yards in the first half (159 passing), had only 15 total yards in the third quarter and 132 in the second half.

"We didn't doubt ourselves, not one time,'' Revis said. "We wanted to keep the game tight.''

They did that. The Chargers, who hadn't scored fewer than 20 points in any game this season, scored 14, seven in each half.

"We wanted to get physical with those guys,'' Revis said. "One thing you can do with big receivers is get physical, throw them off. [Chargers QB] Philip Rivers has a problem with that. We messed up their timing.''

A week ago in the wild-card round, Revis shadowed Cincinnati's Chad Ochocinco and had an interception. On Sunday, he went up near the end zone, smacked a ball that Jackson seemed to have caught, and after a juggling act when the ball bounced off Jackson's foot, made another interception.

"We just needed to match up with those big guys,'' Revis said. "We wanted to out-think those guys, or really make them think.''

The Jets ran well on offense and pounded away on defense. When San Diego led only 7-0 at the half and 7-3 after three quarters, there was a sense of doom in the crowd.

It was as if a baseball team had loaded the bases in each of the first three innings and failed to score a run. Boos began to be heard. It was music to Revis' ears.

"They clearly outplayed us in the first half,'' Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "But this was like a 15-round fight. I felt great coming out at halftime only down 7-0.''

Ryan is the one who, even before the postseason began, predicted the Jets were going to win the Super Bowl. Now his team is echoing the words.

"We have heart,'' Revis said. "Some games we might be sloppy. Some games the offense might not handle things, the defense might give up a play. But we have heart. We don't point a finger. We go back and make corrections. And we fight . . .

"Here we were, down 7-0 much of the game, and we still felt we were going to come out in the second half and win.''

They did exactly that.

"Our guys stood up,'' Ryan said.

Even if they didn't quite measure up in height.

New York Sports