New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI. | License Photo
HOUSTON - DeAndre Hopkins' rare savvy and acceleration placed New York Jets veteran cornerback Darrelle Revis in an unusual position on Sunday afternoon. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year was rendered extremely vulnerable by the Texans star wide receiver.
Instead of the veteran defensive back being able to contain, exploit or strand the Texans star wide receiver with his well-practiced coverage instincts, it was "Revis Island," who was thoroughly dominated by Hopkins.
Between Hopkins displaying his knack for one-handed sideline catches and the way he dashed past a flailing Revis for a 61-yard touchdown pass on a post pattern during the Texans' 24-17 victory, Revis experienced one of his roughest days in the office in several years.
Continuing his breakthrough season and emergence as one of the top wide receivers in the game, Hopkins caught five passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. That included four receptions for 98 yards against Revis before the six-time Pro Bowl cornerback left the game with a concussion.
"The test with the media blowing up 'Revis Island' you know I had to come out and answer," Hopkins said. "Times like this for a great defensive back and a young receiver, not a lot of people have me in their eyes. I know it was a big chip on my shoulder to go out there and play extra hard."
An animated Hopkins used his fingers after the game to place Revis' name in air-quotes having some fun with his famous counterpart. Hopkins acknowledged that this encounter with one of the most celebrated cornerbacks in NFL history had extra significance for him. It was significance without an intimidation factor, though.
Hopkins has no intentions of conceding an inch of territory to any corner, even one as accomplished as Revis, who entered the game with three interceptions and had zero Sunday as he finished the game with three tackles and no passes defended.
"With my mentality, one-on-one, I'm going to win," Hopkins said. "No matter who's out there, I don't really care. A guy like Darrelle Revis has been in the NFL for a long time, they still get tendencies. They know what you're doing from the way you line up.
"When you run a route, you almost have to be perfect at it. You can't slip, timing has to be perfect with the quarterback going against a smart guy like him."
Hopkins and Revis traded boisterous witticisms throughout the first half, barking at each other before, during and after plays.
"You know out there, there's a lot of commotion going on," Hopkins said. "Two grown men playing football, so I can't really recall what was said, a lot of words back and forth."
Scoring his ninth touchdown of the season on a 20-yard go route behind Jets cornerback Marcus Williams, Hopkins tied former Texans All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson's 2009 single-season franchise record for touchdown catches.
Hopkins has 76 receptions for 1,045 yards and is the first player in franchise history to have over 1,000 receiving yards in the first 10 games of a season. He's on pace to finish the season with a career-high 121 catches, 1,672 yards and 14 touchdowns.
"He's unbelievable," Texans owner Bob McNair said of Hopkins. "He's so good with one hand there, I feel he's resting the other one. He's spectacular."
In his third NFL season, the 23-year-old former first-round draft pick from Clemson became the third-youngest player in league history to reach the milestones of 200 career receptions and 3,000 receiving yards behind Larry Fitzgerald and David Boston.
Hopkins' skill at outmuscling defensive backs and leaping ability have boosted quarterbacks' confidence at lobbing the football up to him in any situation.
"That guy's a special talent," said quarterback T.J. Yates, who's thrown three touchdowns to Hopkins over the past two games. "Obviously, it doesn't matter who's on him. He'll go and get the ball for you."