The Jets erupted to a 3-1 start without three key members of their team — cornerback Darrelle Revis, linebacker Calvin Pace and wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Against the Minnesota Vikings, the Green & White got all three members back and they began to work their way into the rotation in their 29-20 victory over the Vikings.
Holmes, the former Super Bowl MVP with the Pittsburgh Steelers, had three receptions, all for first downs, for 41 yards in his debut in Green and White. He was targeted nine times by Mark Sanchez, including two balls deep down the sideline that were just barely incomplete.
"I didn't feel like myself," Holmes said. "I may have looked like it on the field, but I'm just getting in the groove of it, trying to feel where I'm at. I'm definitely satisfied with how it came out. I can't complain about anything. I just have to be ready to roll. We have a short week coming up and we have to go to Denver."
Pace, the Jets' best pass rusher, injured his foot in the third preseason game and was sidelined for the first four regular-season games. Still getting his feet under him Monday night, he had an up-and-down game, recording three tackles, three quarterback hits and 1.5 sacks of Brett Favre. Unfortunately, one of those sacks also resulted in a 15-yard facemask penalty. Nevertheless, Pace was glad to get out on the field, playing all but the last four snaps of the game.
"It was great," Pace said. "Probably not one of my better performances but it was good to get out there and be a part of that win. We made a play when we had to. It was a total team effort defensively and offensively. Again I just really was happy to get out there and be a part of the defense."
Revis, the two-time Pro Bowl player, had been sidelined since halftime of the Jets' Week 2 victory over the Patriots, when he aggravated a hamstring injury on the 34-yard touchdown catch by Randy Moss. With Moss' trade to Minnesota last week, Jets fans were primed for a rematch between the two stars, but instead cornerback Antonio Cromartie drew Moss, and "Cro" was solid throughout the night. Revis, however, still had some lingering effects of his injury.
"It was hurting throughout the whole game,'' Revis said. "I just fought through it and got through the game. The trainers were checking up on me, making sure everything was OK with me. If I knew I was going to be a hindrance to the team, I would have called it quits and went in."
He was unsure early this morning after the game whether he would need an MRI later today. He characterized his hamstring as sore and swollen, a bad omen with a short week before a long trip ahead. Nevertheless, Revis made a hard tackle on Vikings All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson in the game's opening minutes, looking like the physical cornerback Jets fans are accustomed to seeing.
In all, it would be fair to say that Holmes, Pace and Revis as a trio made an impact, but certainly weren't as effective as they will potentially be. Only time, increased health and more game reps will help all three get back to their standard production. But the triumvirate was pleased to be back on the field.
"Oh, man, the first game was a lot of fun," Holmes said. "We hit a few passes here and there, missed a few. Overall, it was a great team effort. We came out with the victory on Monday night in my first game back, so I'm definitely excited about that. I'm ready to keep it rolling."