Since early in his career Darrelle Revis has been held to a higher standard than any other cornerback. It's why people made a big deal out of him giving up a two yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon earlier this year and why Steve Johnson's eight catch, for 75 yards and a touchdown, against incredibly soft-coverage in 2011 continues to be talked about as if Revis got completely dominated. This is the downside of being as great as Revis has been throughout his career. People expect perfection every single game and the fact that part of the job description of a cornerback is you're going to get beat doesn't seem to matter at all.
Cornerback is one of the hardest positions in sports. You have to defend incredibly fast and shifty receivers who are running forward and know exactly where they want to go all while back-peddling and trying to guess where said receiver is trying to go. Because of this cornerbacks are always going to get beat, that's just part of the job, but because Revis has mostly been the exception to this throughout his career people are always going to overreact when he has a game like he did on Sunday.
Revis had a bad day, DeAndre Hopkins had a good one. Hopkins is one of the best young receivers in the league and on Sunday he became one of the few receivers ever to collect bragging rights on the future Hall of Fame cornerback. But did Revis look washed? Did he get completely dominated? No, no he did not.
Hopkins finished the game with five catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns. The second touchdown was a 20 yard catch and came against Marcus Williams after Revis left the game with a concussion. Simple math shows that Revis gave up four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown, the touchdown went for 61 yards (and was really just an incredible route by Hopkins, more of that later) which leaves three catches for 37 yards. In fact the play Hopkins beat Revis the worst on went incomplete as T.J. Yates overthrew Hopkins. You could argue that leans towards Revis actually having a worst day then we all thought but again that's just one play and the position is cornerback.
So, let's go through those four receptions as take a look at how "bad" Revis played.
1) The first catch came on the first drive. The Texans faced a third-and-four from their own 26. In the first screenshot you'll see Revis lined up in soft-coverage, five yards off the line of scrimmage. That's Buster Skrine with the tight-coverage on Nate Washington. In the second screenshot you'll see Washington break underneath Revis on an out-route which frees up Hopkins to slide in comfortably on a five yard in-route and pick up the first down. It was really just an excellent play-call designed to take advantage of the soft-soverage from Revis. This isn't the first time we've seen this this season and until Todd Bowles does something different it won't be the last.
2) The second catch went for 14 yards and Yates hit Hopkins with a perfect back-shoulder throw. Revis had tight coverage and it appeared Hopkins got away with a little pushoff. Revis had good coverage but it was a great route and even better throw and there's not much Revis or anyone can do about a play executed that well. Just look at how tight the coverage is on the pic below, Yates placed it perfectly on Hopkins' back shoulder and there was nothing Revis could do to play it any better.
3) The third catch came on second-and-12 on their own 13-yard line, Hopkins ran up field, faked inside and cut outside for an 18 yard gain. Revis stayed on his hip but once again Yates perfectly dropped the ball right into Hopkins' hand as he made a spectacular one-handed catch and double foot tap to get both feet in bounds. Again look at the pic below, it wasn't bad coverage it was just perfect execution for the quarterback and receiver.
4) This was, of course, the big one. Hopkins again got Revis with a fake but this time it was for 61 yards and a touchdown. There's no picture to go along with it because I couldn't get a picture to show a good enough view of exactly what happened (and none of these are gifs because we are not allowed to post gifs "without the express written consent of the NFL"), but essentially Hopkins runs a post route, Revis had tight coverage on him from the line and right as Hopkins gets to the 50-yard line he dips his shoulder right into Revis and immediately cuts for the post. A lot of people think Hopkins pushed off here but it's too hard to see if he pushed off or if he just sold it with the shoulder dip and created separation that way. Either way Jets fans can't complain because Revis built his career on winning those subtle nudge battles.
Ironically the play Revis looked the worst on was the incompletion immediately after Hopkins' first catch. Hopkins dusted Revis with a quick hesitation/stutter-step but Yates simply overthrew him. But one of the things that people seem to be holding on to when saying Revis isn't Revis anymore is how many short passes he is giving up. This is ridiculous to say because all you have to do is look to see that Revis is giving the receiver so much cushion that he is essentially giving the receiver those short catches. This isn't new, he's always done this (like in that game against Stevie Johnson), but it does appear Bowles is having him play in soft coverage more than usual.
Revis isn't quite as good as he once was, but he is still an elite cornerback and is still playing like it. Games like this just prove it even more because if any other corner had this stat-line against Hopkins no one would even blink, but because of the Revis standard people are making it seem like he got beat up and down the field all game long. However, one thing has become clear, these young, fast, quick and shifty as hell receivers are going to cause Revis, and every other corner, problems from time to time.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)