- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jets WR Santonio Holmes and QB Mark Sanchez, whose connection has been tenuous at times this season, connected when it truly mattered on Sunday. With 1:01 left in the game, Sanchez hit Holmes with a 16 yard pass in the end zone giving the Jets a 28-24 win over the Bills.
“The quarterback got flushed out of the pocket,” Holmes said. “We know what we’re taught in practice is to just keep the play alive until it’s completed, thrown away, whatever. The guy had his back turned to the quarterback and I was watching his every move. (I stayed) relaxed until I knew it was my turn to turn around and do what I’m supposed to do for Mark.”
Jets TE Dustin Keller actually tapped Holmes on the shoulder before the play, told Holmes this one was his.
Sanchez relayed how the the unfolded.
“I felt the right side collapse, and they did a good job of keeping them inside,” Sanchez said. “They collapsed the defense, I want to make sure I phrase that right, and just left a wide open hole to the right. So I started running, I’m ready to throw it away or get a couple of yards and get out of bounds and save some time. (Quarterbacks coach Matt) Cavanaugh just reminds us to remain a passer and keep your eyes up. Tone freed up, gave me his hand and let me know where he was going, and that was it.”
Before that catch, Sanchez and Holmes had been having communications issues, which Holmes admitted after the game. During one attempted pass, Holmes didn’t even glance back at Sanchez as the throw sailed incomplete. ESPN’s Stats & Information said that Sanchez was 1-of-8 with an interception Sunday when targeting Holmes. If you look back to the second half of the loss to the Broncos, Sanchez was 1-of-11 and even worse on third down, where he was 0-for-7.
Even as those incompletions were booed Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Holmes said he never lost confidence in Sanchez — and he thought the quarterback remained steady as well.
“I sense confidence in him throughout the whole game,” Holmes said. “No matter what he goes through, he continues to play until the last second of the game and it showed today again.”
The Jets are now 6-5 and will have to win at least four more, if not five, in order to reach the playoffs.
“First one down, five more to go,” Holmes said.