Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will square off for the 16th time this Sunday. The Patriots' top player on the defensive side of the ball, however, has only faced No. 18 three times in his career.
Darrelle Revis is in his eighth NFL season, and while it may seem as though Revis’ Jets teams gave Manning fits during the end of the quarterback’s Colts career, the sample size really wasn’t too large.
The first time that Revis got a shot at Manning came in 2009 and the Colts owned a 14-0 record. But Indy controversially decided to pull Manning from its lineup in the third quarter of that game, in order to rest the quarterback up for the playoffs. Revis and the Jets wound up ending the Colts’ half-hearted bid for a perfect season, winning 29-15 at Lucas Oil Stadium. For what it’s worth, Indy’s top receiver at the time – Reggie Wayne – was held to three catches for just 33 yards.
The Jets and Colts would meet nearly a month later in the 2009 AFC Championship game and Manning and the Colts were victorious, winning 30-17. Manning completed 26-of-39 passes for 377 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions in the game but Wayne was again quiet, catching just three balls for 55 yards.
A year later in the wild card round, Revis and the Jets knocked out Indy, 17-16, in what came to be Manning’s last game as a Colt. Revis again dominated Wayne, holding him to just one catch for one yard. Manning didn’t even bother looking to Revis’ side of the field on the night as Wayne was targeted just once. Wayne was clearly frustrated by that particular game, telling the Indianapolis Star at the time:
“It’s bull. It’s bull, man … I give everything I’ve got no matter what. Every day, I give it everything. And . . . one ball, that’s all … I shouldn’t have even suited up. I should have watched the game like everybody else. I was irrelevant.”
In total, Revis’ Jets went 2-1 against Manning. The quarterback’s numbers averaged out to this: 19-of-28 for 264 yards, 1.3 touchdowns and zero interceptions per game.
It remains to be seen which member of the Broncos’ talented receiving corps the Patriots will attempt to take away from Manning on Sunday, but one would think Demaryius Thomas would be the leading candidate. Thomas has faced a Revis-led defense twice and had just three catches for 54 yards total in those games. It should be noted that that came at a time when Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton were under center for the Broncos.