It could have been a disaster. Mark Sanchez, already under more pressure than any other Giants or Jets quarterback in recent memory, had just ended his opening drive of the season with an interception.
It could have been a disaster. But it wasn't, because Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis made the kind of play that inspired his teammates to believe they didn't have to follow the three-ring circus script that everyone had written for them heading into their season opener against the Buffalo Bills Sunday.
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Revis got the ball right back to Sanchez by making a huge play in front of Stevie Johnson, the one receiver who has given him problems. His leaping interception of Ryan Fitzpatrick's short pass seemed almost an act of defiance, the kind the Jets needed to spur them to a 48-28 victory in one of the most impressive opening day performances in club history.
"He set the tone for us," said cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who returned his own interception 40 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. "It set the tone to just go out and make the play when we needed to."
The Jets' secondary intercepted Fitzpatrick three times, with Kyle Wilson also making a pick to end the Bills' second drive of the game. The group has said it is a particularly tight and competitive unit, and Wilson said once he saw Revis make his interception, he knew he had to go out and grab one himself.
"It was so cool when Revis got a pick," Wilson said. "I think all of us just took a look at each other and it's like, let's get this competition going. It's not like I was trying to top him. But everyone wants to be that guy. Everyone wants to go out there and do that kind of job."
Revis left the game in the fourth quarter after he was accidentally kicked in the helmet by teammate Bart Scott as Revis attempted to tackle C.J. Spiller. Though he did not have a concussion, under NFL rules, players hit in the head are not allowed to talk to the media after a game.
His performance, however, said volumes to his teammates about what kind of team they think they can be this year.
Said safety LaRon Landry: "I think we can be as great as we want to be. We want to hold everyone accountable. We want to be the first in every category and every aspect."