HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -One play ruined Darrelle Revis' day.
The New York Jets' rookie cornerback was holding his own against Terrell Owens last Thursday when Tony Romo lofted a pass just past Revis' outstretched left arm and into the Dallas wide receiver's hands for a touchdown.
``I was mad,'' Revis said Monday as the Jets returned after a few days off. ``I played him well the whole game and at the end, I just slipped up on the pass.''
The game was already out of reach when Owens' 22-yard catch with 6:12 remaining punctuated the Cowboys' 34-3 victory, but that was of little consolation to Revis.
``He got me and I was upset, but veteran guys just told me to keep my head up and keep on working hard,'' he said.
The fact Revis held Owens to six catches for 65 yards must've been a huge eye-opener for the Cowboys receiver, who earlier in the week claimed he never heard of the rookie.
``I'm sure he knows who I am,'' Revis said with a grin. ``I don't want it to be a confrontation thing where it's going to turn out negative. I mean, we played against each other, he's a great receiver and I hope he thinks I'm a good corner.''
The Jets certainly do. He's been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal 2-9 season.
New York traded up in the first round to draft Revis, who was regarded as one of the best cornerbacks available. After a lengthy training-camp holdout, Revis proved a quick study - so much so that he cracked the starting lineup for the opener and has been a starter since.
He's shown some lapses at times, but has mostly been solid while going against the likes of Owens, Randy Moss and Chad Johnson week in and week out.
``It's fun and, at times, it's kind of crazy,'' said Revis, whose 68 tackles are second on the team. ``You line up against these guys and you see them and you're like, 'I'm going up against Randy Moss or Chad Johnson.' To me, you just have to focus on the big picture. You can't be scared. You have to go out there with confidence and play within the game plan and try to make plays.''
Coach Eric Mangini was particularly pleased with Revis' effort, calling it ``excellent.'' Owens had 24 catches for 472 yards and seven touchdowns in his previous three games.
``There was no sense of, 'I'm a rookie, you're a Pro Bowl player,' that sort of inherent tentativeness that you may find,'' Mangini said. ``He was aggressive throughout the course of the game.''
Mangini said Revis' only mistake on the touchdown was that he looked back at the ball a bit too early, allowing Owens to create the slightest bit of separation.
``If he just stayed a little bit tighter on that, the difference between the completion and incompletion was 6 inches, maybe 8,'' Mangini said.
The Jets coach has been impressed by Revis' approach to working on weaknesses and not repeating mistakes. Mangini thinks Revis can improve his hands and reaction time by using a JUGS machine, which fires footballs at high speeds. Revis has one interception and could have had a few others this season, including on a slant pass to Owens early against the Cowboys.
``That ball comes so quickly, you have to react to it and have your hands up quick enough,'' Mangini said. ``That could have gone the other way. It's nice to see him put himself in those positions, but we've definitely got to work on the JUGS.''
A year ago, Revis was still at the University of Pittsburgh watching guys like Owens, Moss and Johnson light up NFL defensive backs on television highlights. He learned quickly that there's no room for self-doubt when preparing for a big matchup.
``I've always been confident,'' Revis said. ``That's just how I play and that's how I try to be. Going up against the best, it was great. It was great competition for me and I think as well as T.O., too. It was a fun game. The last play, he got me at the end, but my progress, it's just getting better everyday.''
And his teammates can attest to that.
``He has been impressive since Day 1,'' safety Kerry Rhodes said. ``He came in and wasn't a big-talking guy, which is good for a rookie. He came in, listened, learned and picked up as many things as he could early on. He's continuing to get better and that's the way it should be.''

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