Revis aims to provide skidding Chiefs with jolt vs. Jets
Yes, Darrelle Revis will be suiting up for the Kansas City Chiefs at MetLife Stadium on Sunday when they visit the New York Jets, a team with which he played for eight seasons.
But Jets fans have seen Revis return twice before.
The seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback’s first game after he initially left, in 2013, was against the Jets as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He came back again with the hated New England Patriots the following season en route to winning the Super Bowl.
Both times Revis’ teams left as one-point winners.
The more pressing issue for the Chiefs is trying to fix their stunning and prolonged downturn toward mediocrity. After impressive wins over the Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles en route to a 5-0 start, Kansas City has lost five of six and is clinging to a one-game lead over the surging Los Angeles Chargers (5-6) in the AFC West.
Three of the Chiefs’ six losses have come to teams that currently have a losing record, including a 12-9 overtime loss to the New York Giants two weeks ago at the same stadium in which they’ll play the Jets on Sunday.
After throwing 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions in the first five games, Alex Smith has eight TDs and four picks in the last six. Rookie Kareem Hunt failed to break 73 yards rushing, with no touchdowns, in the last six games after posting four 100-yard games and four touchdowns in the first five.
Though Smith’s numbers haven’t been a train wreck during the skid, fans (as they are wont to do) are calling for a quarterback change to rookie Patrick Mahomes, whom Kansas City traded up 17 spots to take 10th overall in April’s draft. Mahomes, who impressed with his rocket arm in the preseason, was the first quarterback the Chiefs selected in the first round since Todd Blackledge in 1983, so one can understand the fans’ excitement.
But Andy Reid, who’s in his 19th straight season as an NFL head coach (five with the Chiefs), isn’t letting the outside noise influence him.
“The thing I can do is stand before you and tell you that this isn’t an Alex Smith thing,” Reid said. “It’s all of us. I think — I know — our players understand that, and coaches. We’re all going to do better and raise our game up.”
He’s right that it isn’t all on Smith, and that’s where Revis comes back into the conversation.
The Chiefs have the 27th-ranked pass defense in the league, and their 21 sacks place them 21st. Cornerback Marcus Peters has three interceptions and two forced fumbles this season, but even he was burned on a crossing route by rookie Zay Jones for the Bills’ only touchdown in last week’s 16-10 loss to Buffalo at home.
It speaks volumes that the Chiefs were desperate enough to bring in the 32-year-old Revis, who looked washed up last season with the Jets. Revis allowed receivers to catch 67 percent of passes with him in coverage last season.
“We’re going to find out how much he has left, because the Jets will go after him,” Rex Ryan, who coached Revis for four years with the Jets and also faced him as an opponent seven times, told The New York Daily News. “The Jets know as well as anybody that he didn’t play that well last year. If his technique is played the same as last year, well, they’re going to go after him.”
They certainly will. The Jets (4-7) have also lost five of six and are 3.5-point underdogs as of Wednesday evening, but what they have in their favor is a strong deep passing game. Robby Anderson scored in five straight games (the longest active streak in the NFL), including two in last week’s 35-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The shortest of his seven touchdowns this season was 18 yards, while four were more than 30 yards and two were 50-plus.
This stat shows how potent the Josh McCown-Anderson connection has been this season: On passes thrown 30 yards or more beyond the line of scrimmage, the Jets are tied for the league lead for the best completion percentage (50) and most touchdowns (five).
But the Jets have struggled in the fourth quarter this season, having been outscored 117-44 in the final 15 minutes, while seven of McCown’s 11 turnovers have come in last period.
The Chiefs have outscored their opponents 98-67 in the fourth.
“We expect to get the best Kansas City team,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. “Obviously, they started fast and we don’t know the reason why they won or why they lost. We just know they’re dangerous.”