No one is happy at 5-4, general manager John Idzik told reporters this week.
"But I can say that the way our guys compete, that's been our mantra," Idzik continued. "I think you've witnessed it, too. It could happen within a series, it could happen game to game, it could happen over a period. Now we have first half/second half. I think we're pleased with the way our guys compete. I think we're pleased with the way our guys have come together. We've got a real cohesive team here, and by team, I mean our staff, our players. We care about each other, we fight for each other, we have each other's backs. You feel that in this building. So I'm very pleased with that."
Maybe "happy" is not the word, but maybe "crowd-pleasing" better captures the following five moments that we are calling the top five highlights of the first half (well, 9/16ths) of the season.
You can find moments 6 through 10 here. And in two days, Charlie Frankel's Special Teams Saturday blog will reflect on the top five special teams moments from Games 1-9 not involving Nick Folk. Enjoy through the bye weekend.
5. SMITH-TO-HOLMES TD STRIKE vs. BUFFALO
Injuries have limited WR Santonio Holmes' playing time this season, but in the games he's played, No. 10 has looked every bit the No. 1 wide receiver he is.
Tied at 20 with nine minutes and change remaining in Game 3 vs. Buffalo, QB Geno Smith saw a one-on-one matchup, heaved the ball Santonio's way and Holmes did the rest, reeling in the pass, shedding the defender and accelerating down the right sideline and into the end zone for a seven-point lead that would hold up in the end. It was one of four pass plays of 40 yards or more on the day.
4. DEFENSE'S GOAL LINE STAND @ ATLANTA
When the Falcons had first-and-goal from the Jets 4 late in the first half, it seemed inevitable they would enter the locker room with momentum.
Then came Jason Snelling's run to the right for a yard loss, David Harris and Sheldon Richardson on the tackle, 0-for-1 ... a Matt Ryan incompletion, 0-for-2 ... a short completion to WR Julio Jones, stopped by Dawan Landry a yard short of the goal line, 0-for-3.
Atlanta coach Mike Smith wasn't settling for the chip-shot field goal. An incomplete pass for Tony Gonzalez had the Green & White ecstatic — until that dreaded yellow flag made an unwelcome appearance. Defensive holding. Automatic first down. One second remaining.
The Falcons sent Jacquizz Rodgers right. Harris and Richardson met him there. Goal line stand accomplished.
3. TWO-MINUTE DRIVE, FOLK GAMEWINNER @ ATLANTA
Ryan's touchdown pass gave the Falcons a 28-27 lead with 1:54 remaining. Plenty of time for Geno and the Jets.
After driving from our 20 to their 25, the table was set for Nick Folk once again. The 43-yarder as time expired was good and the Jets scored a hard-fought first road win of the year, 30-28.
"Every time he goes out there," head coach Rex Ryan said, "I just call him 'Folk Hero.' Go get it, nail it. I feel good every time I say it because he hasn't missed when I've said it."
That was a month ago. Folk still hasn't missed.
2. ALLEN'S PICK-SIX vs. TOM BRADY AND THE PATRIOTS
Trailing at halftime, 21-10, with the Patriots receiving the kickoff, Jets radio announcer Bob Wischusen declared we would likely need a turnover to ultimately win the game.
Seconds later, S Antonio Allen jumped the route and intercepted Tom Brady's pass intended for TE Rob Gronkowski before running it into the end zone for a momentum-swinging, comeback-starting touchdown.
"It was huge," Geno Smith said, "to put points on the board, to cut the deficit to four. The defense came out that second half and played a phenomenal game. My hat goes off to them because they really sparked us."
1. SMITH SCRAMBLE, LATE HIT, FOLK GAMEWINNER vs. TAMPA BAY
Down two with 34 seconds, no timeouts, and starting at our own 20, there was no waiting for rookie QB Geno Smith to mature. It was now or never, and Smith chose now.
After moving 25 yards on a completion to TE Kellen Winslow, Smith rushed from our 45 to theirs. As he hustled out of bounds, LB Lavonte David pushed him unnecessarily, a flag was thrown, and the potential 63-yard prayer of a field goal try became a very manageable 48-yarder.
Nick Folk knocked it through the uprights, the Jets won their season opener, 18-17, and the Green & White were off and running in 2013.
First-Half Highlights — Honorable Mentions
Game 1 vs. TB: Ellis Lankster's emphatic special teams tackle
Game 1 vs. TB:Robert Malone's 84-yard punt
Game 2 @ NE: Vladimir Ducasse's block on Vince Wilfork on Bilal Powell's TD run
Game 3 vs. BUF: Jeremy Kerley's 18-yard reception on 3rd-and-17
Game 5 @ ATL: Antonio Allen's blocked punt
Game 5 @ ATL: Muhammad Wilkerson's strip-sack of Matt Ryan, Leger Douzable's recovery
Game 6 vs. PIT:Stephen Hill's catch as he's crushed by Troy Polamalu
Game 9 vs. NO: First-half interceptions of Drew Brees by Demario Davis and Antonio Cromartie