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Patriots Shouldn't Worry About Darrelle Revis

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The Patriots cornerback gave up a lot of yards to the Raiders, but it shouldn't be a cause for concern.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots brought in All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis to be a star. He would be the missing piece in the secondary, the player to elevate the defense back into the hey-days of shutdown, lockdown, and three down defense.

Rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw at his six times, completed five passes, and picked up 63 yards.

That's not what New England wanted. Right?

Don't worry about it.

While Carr threw a beautiful back shoulder pass to James Jones at the end of the game- a completion of 18 yards- it marked the only time Revis was challenged down the field the entire game. In order to evaluate Revis, we need to first review how and why the Patriots defended the way they did.

During the first half, the Patriots primarily played against their receivers in tight man coverage, with Devin McCourty as the single deep safety. The goal and function was to force Derek Carr to hold the ball and attempt contested throws in tight coverage. Still, the secondary took a defensive stand from their coverage with the explicit function of protecting against the big play.

The Raiders reacted by integrating crossing patterns into their gameplan to manufacture distance underneath between the receivers and the defenders. It worked, but the Patriots were completely fine with the outcome- they wanted Carr to have to extend drives with his arm because that's how Bill Belichick schemes against young quarterbacks. Through the first half, Carr had not thrown a pass that traveled more than 15 yards down the field.

In the second half, the Patriots stopped playing tight coverage and instead dropped the corners deeper with a focus on preventing the big play- and this was evidenced with more cover two looks, with multiple deep safeties. The corners gave open space on the line of scrimmage to the receivers in exchange for greater protection against the deep pass.

There was a clear shift as Carr and the Raiders threw six of their sixteen second half attempts 15 yards or greater down the field.

The defense transformed from an aggressive unit, forcing Carr to complete short passes all the way down the field, to a more defensive (some might say preventative) outfit, even more geared on stopping the big play.

Revis allowed two completions in the first half to Rod Streater (dig route) and Denarius Moore (curl in). He allowed three completions on four attempts to James Jones in the second half, one on a backshoulder pass, one on a pick play on an out route, and one on an inside curl out of the slot.

Four of these passing plays are designed to take advantage of a cushion offered by a defensive back (albeit the backshoulder throw was impeccable and would have been caught in any coverage). Revis did look a step slow in closing on the pick play, even though he diagnosed it correctly, and he was turned around by Jones' curl route in the second half.

Revis was not perfect against the Raiders. Far from it. But the preventative nature of the defense certainly played a role in how the Raiders game plan developed. The Patriots entered the game willing to give up yardage underneath to try and make a young quarterback control long marches down the field, and Revis was no exception to the plan.

Carr and the Raiders averaged 6.6 plays on their 9 drives, but gained only 27.8 yards per drive (4.2 yards per play). The defense did its job of capping off any extended offensive series- the Raiders were going to make a mistake at some point and be forced to kick the ball.

Revis played within the Patriots system. That's no reason to be concerned.