Turns out, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis just might get an invitation to the big birthday bash Terrell Owens is planning in New York City this weekend.
When informed on Wednesday that Revis had expressed no intention of showing up as a party-crasher, Owens suggested he just might deliver a personal invite.
“I’ll give him one after I score,” Owens told The Associated Press after the team held a brief workout at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, where the Bills (4-7) will face Revis and the Jets (5-6) in Buffalo’s second annual “home” game on Thursday night. “That’s when I tell him he’s invited.”
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In a game between two AFC East rivals that’s being billed as “T.O. in T.O.,” the brash high-profile receiver has a renewed bounce in his step. Aside from being back in the spotlight on an international scale, he’s preparing for a prime-time game which coincides with his sudden hot streak.
With quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick providing a deep-threat dimension since taking over as starter, and Perry Fewell emphasizing an aggressive approach in going 1-1 since being appointed interim head coach, Owens is no longer an afterthought in what had been the Bills‘ popgun attack.
With 378 yards receiving and two TDs in his past three games, Owens has matched his scoring output and more than doubled the yardage he had in his first eight games.
“With Fitz back there, there are opportunities, and I feel like I’m a part of the offense,” said Owens, in a veiled knock against former starter Trent Edwards, who’s been benched.
As for preparing to turn 36 on Monday, Owens added: “I’m drinking from the fountain of youth … 36 and speeding up.”
Revis might have something to say about that, though he was keeping his thoughts to himself in the days leading up to the game.
“Nothing,” said Revis, when informed of the T.O. marketing blitz happening in Toronto. “T.O.’s going to be T.O., and Darrelle Revis is going to be Darrell Revis, just got to go out there and compete.”
The third-year player, coming off his first Pro Bowl season, has been kryptonite to numerous receivers already this year. In two games against New England, he limited Randy Moss to nine catches for 58 yards and one score. Last week, Revis limited Carolina’s Steve Smith to a 5-yard catch.
And then there was his first meeting against Buffalo, when Revis held Owens to three catches for 13 yards in the Jets‘ 16-13 overtime loss on Oct. 18.
Rookie coach Rex Ryan is looking forward to the Darrelle-versus-Terrell sequel.
“I feel pretty good about our chances,” Ryan said. “I don’t have a concern. I know T.O. is an outstanding player, but I have a lot of confidence in Darrelle Revis.”
Of course, the Jets defense, which is ranked second in the NFL in fewest yards allowed, hasn’t been a concern for Ryan all season. The trouble has been an offense which has struggled behind the telltale inconsistencies that come with a rookie quarterback – Mark Sanchez.
After helping the Jets get off to a 3-0 start, Sanchez has since endured far more lows – among the worst coming against the Bills.
Sanchez threw a season-high five interceptions against Buffalo, including one in overtime which set up Rian Lindell‘s 47-yard field goal. Sanchez had another meltdown, throwing four interceptions two weeks ago in a 31-14 loss at New England.
Sanchez has thrown three interceptions in New York’s five victories, compared to 14 in six losses.
Ryan has resorted to providing Sanchez a color code to remind the quarterback when to be conservative (red) cautious (yellow) or take a shot (green).
Blue might have been Ryan’s color after the loss to the Bills. Sanchez’s interceptions negated the Jets‘ running attack, which gained an eye-popping 318 yards, led by Thomas Jones‘ 210 yards rushing and a touchdown.
“Yep, that’s unbelievable,” Ryan said. “And the fact that we threw five interceptions is pretty unbelievable, too. But they earned the win.”
Both cold-weather teams will benefit from playing indoors at the domed Rogers Centre. And the Jets could actually get the edge in a setting that has the potential to have a neutral site atmosphere to it.
Toronto might be a 90-minute drive from Buffalo, but there were nearly as many Dolphins fans present in the Bills‘ 16-3 loss in the five-year series-opening game north of the border last December.
The Bills are aware it’s on them to get the crowd on their side.
“We’ve got to play better,” defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said.
Owens is planning to do his part.
“Here I am. It feels good,” Owens said to reporters in Toronto. “I just want all of the people to come out and support Bills football. Obviously, we plan to put on a show tomorrow and show what the NFL is all about.”