Darrelle Revis bringing down TE Kevin Boss, 50 pounds heavier, a yard short of a first down
Darrelle Revis lived up to the hype Saturday night.
The rookie corner, playing alongside his professional teammates in a game for the first time following a 20-day holdout, collected five solo tackles, broke up at least one pass and returned one punt for 13 yards in the 20-12 win over the Giants.
"That's just how I play. I play confident," the first-round draft choice said of his Jets debut. "I don't try to play scared. Just go out there and play football — that's what I try to do."
"I thought he did a good job. I'm sure it's a real dramatic change from being home watching TV to transitioning into the game," said head coach Eric Mangini. "He played different spots. He worked inside, he worked outside. He had a chance to return a couple of punts and that was important to give him some reps at the different roles he'll be playing moving forward."
On just the Giants' second play from scrimmage, Revis, who got the start at LCB with both Andre Dyson and Justin Miller out of the lineup, came forward to stop 6'4", 264-pound Brandon Jacobs for no gain. He then successfully moved to the slot on third-and-long, hauling down Amani Toomer well short of a first down.
"I went out there and made a couple of tackles," he said. "It's about getting bodies on bodies, just tackling."
Again showing a good nose for the sticks, Revis tackled WR Anthony Mix 3 yards shy of a first down later in the opening stanza. That forced a Giants field goal attempt that was pushed wide right by an erratic Lawrence Tynes.
"I was nervous; it was my first game back," admitted Revis. "But once the first play was over, I was ready to go."
Early in the second quarter, QB Eli Manning got a one-on-one matchup of Toomer vs. the rookie. The Pittsburgh product got inside position and the ball fell incomplete. That came on third down and a Giants drive in enemy territory was halted.
"Yeah, I expected [Manning] to come at me. The coaches expected him to come at me. They were prepping me a lot: 'You know, they're going to come at you, you're a rookie. They're going to test you,' " he said. "In my mind, I just had to bring my 'A' game."
With the Giants threatening late in the half, Revis made a veteran move down near the goal line. Manning threw short to an open Sinorice Moss, but the 5'11", 204-pound DB deftly moved in and got his hand in front for a deflection.
The halftime break slowed Revis down just for a few minutes. Out of the tunnel, he returned and stopped TE Kevin Boss (6'6", 253) for a 6-yard gain on third down when the Giants needed 7 . And his 13-yard punt return midway in the third — he used his speed to create room up the sideline — set up a 44-yard go-ahead drive.
"It was exciting," he said. "I was telling some of the veterans I was just happy to be out there, not having played contact football since November at the University of Pittsburgh."
In addition to Revis, the Jets received encouraging performances from fellow rookies David Harris and Danny Ware. Harris, the club's second-round selection from Michigan, was all over the field and racked up six tackles. And Ware, bidding to become the team's third running back, churned out 57 yards on 16 carries. His 16-yard score in the third after Revis' punt return helped the Jets to a 13-12 lead they never lost.