Santonio Holmes celebrates a reception for a first down early...

Santonio Holmes celebrates a reception for a first down early in the second half of a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Sept. 22, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Santonio Holmes' fourth annual bowling fundraiser for sickle cell anemia Monday night was a much happier event than last year.

When Holmes hosted the third annual "Strikes for Sickle Cell" last Dec. 3, the Jets were 5-7 and his season had ended two months earlier because of a foot injury.

"Last year, being injured and I didn't have the opportunity to be around the team as much to really spread the word and how it was really important for these guys to be here," Holmes said. "It shows they're really supporting me for the contributions I've made to get back on the field this year and also helping kids with sickle cell."

Both Holmes and the Jets are in better standing this season. The team improved to 2-1 with a 27-20 win over Buffalo on Sunday and Holmes was a key factor, catching five passes for a career-high 154 yards. His 69-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was the winner.

The performance showed flashes of the explosiveness Holmes possessed before the Lisfranc injury to his left foot.

"This is my first time coming off an injury and the best way to play it is to take it day by day," Holmes said. "I can't put myself on a pedestal and say that I'm 100 percent because I'm not. Therefore, I have to continue to play it one day at a time and continue to rebuild. To have it all taken away at one time is still a learning curve to get back in the same direction I was going in years ago."

Holmes got involved with the sickle cell cause because his 12-year-old son, Santonio III, was born with the disease. Holmes was joined at Jersey Lanes by about 20 teammates, including Mark Sanchez, Brady Quinn, Bilal Powell and D'Brickashaw Ferguson.

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