New England Patriots: Wes Weker
October, 9, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
AP Photo/Michael DwyerAll eyes are on the Darrelle Revis vs. Wes Welker battle.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- One of the biggest story lines of the week leading up to Sunday's Patriots-Jets showdown was the potential matchup between New York cornerback Darrelle Revis and New England wide receiver Wes Welker.
Here's a look at how it played out (charting from the press box, slight margin for error):
Welker vs. Revis
(Total of 11 drives, includes five penalty plays)
42 plays, 3 targets, 2 receptions, 77 yards
Patriots production: 17 runs, 62 yards, 2 TD; 15-of-18 passing, 234 yards, TD, 2 sacks (-16)
Notes: Welker finished with five catches for 126 yards... The one target that didn't connect with Revis defending him was a throw to the end zone in which Welker thought Revis and Antonio Cromartie hindered his path (the ball sailed high over them all)... Revis did a nice job limiting Welker to one 4-yard catch on 19 first-half 1-on-1 battles, but on the first play of the second half, New York's cornerback got caught cheating a bit and -- when safety Eric Smith couldn't help out -- Welker caught a 73-yard pass to highlight a four-play touchdown drive... The first and only target of the first half came on the final of 19 snaps the two were matched up against each other. Welker didn't create that much separation, but a nice lob from Brady was enough for a third-down conversion (it was wasted when Brady was intercepted on the final play of the half)... Welker had two other first-half catches for 43 yards, both when initially guarded by cornerback Donald Strickland, who then handed him off to safety Eric Smith in coverage... On 18 of the 20 plays he hasn't defended Welker, Revis has been matched up on Deion Branch.
Analysis: Beyond the long pass at the start of the second half, Revis did a solid job limiting Welker. Revis was physical for much of the game and managed to stay with him on his cuts. With Brady getting rid of the ball quickly on many of the first-half plays they were matched up on, it left Welker with few opportunities to be targeted. Revis will look back at the long play that led to a touchdown and kick himself over the miscommunication that allowed Welker to get behind the defense.