If there was any doubt that Jets receiver Santonio Holmes had lost his stride, it was quickly answered by the performance the former Super Bowl MVP had on Sunday. In his return to Sun Life Stadium, a building that brings back sour memories for No. 10, Holmes atoned for his poor performance last December.
Following a fallout with the rest of the locker room, Holmes was benched in the regular season closing game last year. He left many wondering whether or not his heart was truly in the game and led many to speculate that he was on his way out of New York. Holmes and quarterback Mark Sanchez dealt with many questions this offseason regarding whether they can look past last year's collapse and reconcile their differences for the sake of football.
After Sunday, Holmes came full circle, closing the argument where it first arose.
"I allowed the game to come to me," said Holmes after the game. "I didn't force anything or take advantage of anything. I just played Santonio Holmes football."
Despite not being able to reach the end zone, Holmes finished the day as the Jets leading receiver, hauling in nine catches for 147 yards. It was the kind of performance that Jets fans hoped they would receive on a weekly basis from the former Pittsburgh Steeler when they signed him after his clutch Super Bowl performance. Holmes further buried the rift between himself and Sanchez by praising his quarterback's ability to put the ball within arm's reach.
"(Mark) Sanchez really felt comfortable throwing me the ball, putting it in great places," said Holmes. "We played a really tough game all game long and we just wanted it more than they did."
The win puts the Jets at first place in the AFC East. Holmes and company will now turn their focus toward next Sunday where they will return home for a game against Jim Harbaaugh's San Francisco 49ers. The West Coast team is coming off an upset loss to the Minnesota Vikings that surprised everyone in the NFL. But for now, Holmes can rest easy knowing that he just exorcised the demons that have haunted him since that fateful December day in Miami last season.