Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis showed why he continues to be considered among the best in the NFL at his position on Thursday as No. 24 delivered a second strong performance against Terrell Owens and the Buffalo wide receivers in the 19-13 victory over the Bills.
The international stage was set for Revis to showcase his ability in the second regular-season game played in Toronto, Canada, and the first in primetime.
"I'm just trying to do my job," Revis said. "One thing I do, I study these receivers very well. It's something where I just try to come out and compete. I know these guys are going to get some balls, balls will come to them. I just try to keep their catches to a minimum."
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick targeted T.O. on nine passes, connecting just three times for 31 yards, largely a result of Revis' coverage. The third-year corner had five PDs, including an interception on a desperation long ball intended for the former Pro Bowl receiver with 2:09 left to destroy the Bills hopes of making a comeback.
As important that one was in sealing the victory, the Pro Bowl corner could have had more picks.
"Well, he dropped two interceptions tonight," head coach Rex Ryan joked. "So I'd have to say that was a poor game for him."
"I'm a little upset about that," Revis said. "I've got to get on the JUGS machine a little bit more."
Revis had Owens playing a lot of defensive back on the night trying to keep the ball out of the Jets' hands.
"When he's not getting the ball a lot, when they're not feeding him the ball, he tends to get a bit frustrated," said Revis. "That's one of the game plans you can work on him as well is just try and frustrate him a little bit by just getting in his face."
Revis stayed in Owens' grill all night, giving him a shot on the games' first play while sticking to him on the line to prevent the speedy receiver from getting past.
"He can get up there and get physical with the receiver," said Lito Sheppard. "But then he's also got the speed to run with him. So he can get you both ways. Every week he's something special."
The Bills knew that T.O. would be watched closely all night by Revis, so they made it evident they'd try and get the ball to Lee Evans on the other side. Fitzpatrick hit Evans for a 38-yard over the shoulder pass in the first quarter, but Sheppard made a diving stop to prevent the TD.
And that was Evans' only reception out of seven passes targeted for him as the Jets had prepared for the Bills trying to try to throw away from No. 24. Sometimes they flipped Sheppard to T.O.'s side while Revis guarded Evans.
"That was set up to confuse them a little bit, and I think it had that effect," said Sheppard, who also had two PDs. "We did a good job disguising a lot of things today."
T.O. didn't hide his feelings, and Revis said that's one advantage you don't want to give a shutdown corner like himself.
"First you could see body language. Second of all you could just see how he's running his routes, how he's not blocking, doing those type of things," said Revis. "If they get him more in the offense, then he's more upbeat, he's ready for the ball a bit more. Those are the type of things you see in his game."
"It was a very physical matchup," said Owens. "I would say he is a good corner, he's established himself as one of the best in the league at that position."
The best corner in the NFL, fit to play the best receivers in the game, week after week. In two games against the Jets this season, Owens managed six catches for 44 yards and no TDs.
"It's a challenge every week with guys like him and Randy Moss," Revis said. "That's two of the premier receivers in the league, and they're in your division, so we seem them twice a year. You've got to be up for those battles. I look forward to those types of matchups, and I'm sure those guys do as well."
Next up for Revis: Tampa Bay WR Antonio Bryant, as the Jets head down to the Sunshine State for their Dec. 13 matchup with the Buccaneers. When Bryant takes a look at the video of the Jets D this season, he's sure to see little opportunity for exploitation.