MIKE O'HARA

OPPONENT BREAKDOWN: Darrelle Revis vs. Calvin Johnson will be the matchup to watch on Sunday

Posted Nov 21, 2013

Two of the best at their respective positions, Revis and Johnson will hook up for the first time since 2010 on Sunday

Darrelle Revis won’t claim that he got the better of the Lions’ Calvin Johnson in the only matchup between the NFL’s best cornerback and the league’s top receiver.

Revis, in his first year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after six seasons with the Jets, let the stats do the bragging rights when he spoke to the Detroit media in a conference-call interview Wednesday afternoon.

Megatron was held to one catch for 13 yards, and he was targeted just four times when Revis covered him head-up while playing for New York in a game at Ford Field in 2010.

"I think we had a good game plan that week," Revis said. "I covered him most of the time in man coverage and happened to just do a great job on him."

So did he win, man-to-man?

"I mean, one catch for 13 yards," Revis said with a light laugh. "What do you think?"

The Jets won the game in overtime, and the stats gave Revis a one-sided victory.

Revis and Johnson will hook up again for the first time since that game when the Bucs play the Lions at Ford Field on Sunday.

The two teams are at opposite ends of the standings. The Bucs are 2-8, but with a two-game winning streak. The Lions are 6-4 and coming off a 37-27 loss at Pittsburgh, when their offense stalled out and the defense caved in in the fourth quarter.

Johnson is a better player than he was three years ago, and the Lions move him around more. Revis has covered the opposing team’s top receiver throughout his career, and it’s likely he’ll follow Johnson wherever he lines up – split wide to the left or right, or in the slot.

Before the injury, there was no question about whether Revis was the league’s top cornerback. He had the nickname "Revis Island," and it was his domain. He was voted to four Pro Bowls and was first-team All Pro three times.

Revis was so good that he could not be defined by stats – simply because opposing quarterbacks seldom threw in his direction. Big interception totals were compiled by cornerbacks who got thrown at in their direction a lot.

Revis intercepted 14 passes in his first three seasons but only seven since then because the receivers he covers get targeted so seldom. Revis might as well have replaced the name plate on his jersey with a sign: "Enter Island at Your Own Risk."

The Jets wound up trading him because they didn’t want to meet his contract demands, particularly with Revis coming off the knee injury.

This season he is near the top in most categories used to rate cornerbacks individually – such as yards per game and per catch allowed.

Revis said Wednesday that he has not recovered fully from the knee injury. However, Lions Coach Jim Schwartz said that from watching game tapes, Revis does not look like he is limited physically.

Darelle RevisCB Darrelle Revis (Photo: AP Images)

"I don’t know that you consider him still coming off the injury now," Schwartz said. "When you watch him on film, he doesn’t look like he’s dragging his leg or hampered in any way.

"He’s a good player. He’s got great eyes for the football. He can play zone, he can play man, he can play press, and he can play off. He’s a good tackler. He’s one of the best corners in the NFL and Calvin is one of the best wide receivers, if not the best wide receiver. That’s going to be a key matchup in this game."

BUCS BREAKDOWN:

QB switch: No position change shakes a team more than benching the starting quarterback, but Bucs buried the needle on the quarterback seismograph when they benched Josh Freeman in favor of rookie Mike Glennon after three games.

Glennon has performed well for the Bucs. A third-round draft pick from North Carolina State, the 6-foot-7 Glennon was outstanding last week against Atlanta, completing 20-of-23 passes for 231 yards, two TDs and a 137.5 passer rating.

Freeman, a first-round draft pick in 2009, looked entrenched as the long-term starter going into this season. He had started 50 of the previous 51 games since opening day of 2010 and was coming off a 2012 season when he threw a career-high 27 TD passes.

However, there were questions about Freeman’s accuracy and work habits. Freeman played poorly in the first three games, throwing two TD passes against three interceptions with a completion rate of 45.7 percent.

Coach Greg Schiano made the switch to Glennon for Game 4 – a 13-10 loss to the Cardinals. Freeman was released on Oct. 3 during the Bucs’ bye week. When he did not sign with another team, the Bucs were obligated to pay the remainder of his full 2013 salary of $6.2 million.

Freeman signed a one-year contract with the Vikings worth a reported $3 million. Freeman’s one start with the Vikings was more of what got him benched in Tampa. He had no TD passes, one interception and a 37.7-percent completion rate in a loss to the Giants in Game 7.

The real McCoy: Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has come into his own the last two years after a slow start to his career.

He made the Pro Bowl in 2012 with five sacks and is on the way to a repeat performance, with six sacks in the first 10 games. Three were in last week’s victory over Atlanta.

McCoy was drafted third overall in 2010, one pick after the Lions took Ndamukong Suh. They have a rivalry dating to college, when they were the Big 12’s top linemen, with McCoy at Oklahoma and Suh at Nebraska.

Injuries held McCoy back early. He missed three games as a rookie and 10 in 2011. He and Suh are two of the league’s most disruptive interior linemen. In addition to the six official sacks, McCoy has two pass breakups, a fumble recovery and 13 quarterback hits.

How the Bucs got to 2-8: Three of their first four losses were by three points or fewer – 18-17 to the Jets, 16-14 to the Saints and 13-10 to the Cardinals. Loss No. 8 was 27-24 to Seattle in overtime. The Bucs won the next two – 22-19 over Miami and a solid 41-28 win over Atlanta last week.

BUCS LEADERS

Offense:

Passing – Mike Glennon 154-248 (62.1 pct.), 1,535 yds., 11 TD, 4 Int., 17 sacks, 87.7 rating.

Rushing – Doug Martin (IR), 127-456, 3.6 avg., 1 TD; Mike James (IR), 60-2295, 4.9 avg., 0 TD; Bobby Rainey, 38-208, 5.5 avg., 3 TD; Brian Leonard, 33-106, 3.2 avg., 0 TD.

Receptions – Vincent Jackson, 56-827, 14.8 avg., 5 TD; Tim Wright, 26-291, 11.2 avg., 2 TD; Mike Williams (IR), 22-216, 9.8 avg., 2 TD; Leonard 22-161, 7.3 avg., 0 TD.

Team offense – 13th rushing (118.6 per game), 30 passing (192.2 per game), 28 total (310.8 per game), 24 sacks allowed (15th in sacks allowed per pass play).

Defense:

Tackles – Lavonte David 86; Mark Barron 65; Dashon Goldson 49; Leonard Johnson 40; Adrian Clayborn 37; Johnathan Banks 34; Darrelle Revis and Gerald McCoy 30.

Tackles-for-loss (Team total 50) – David 14, McCoy 9, Clayborn 8; Mason Foster 4.

Sacks (team total 22) – McCoy 6, David 5, Clayborn 3, Foster 2.

Interceptions (team total 11) – Mark Barron, Foster, Revis 2 each.

Pass breakups (Team total 43) – Revis 7, Dashon Goldson 6, David, Barron, Foster 5 each.

Special teams:

Kickoff returns – Eric Paige 12-24.2 avg., 33 long.

Punt returns – Paige 18-11.2 avg., 52 long.

Punting – Michael Koenen 43.0 avg. gross, 37.3 net, 5 touchbacks, 14 inside 20.

Kicking – Rian Lindell 15-18 FG, 20-20 PAT.