Jets receiver Stephen Hill (no. 84) celebrates his second-quarter touchdown...

Jets receiver Stephen Hill (no. 84) celebrates his second-quarter touchdown against the Buffalo Bills with teammate Jeremy Kerley. (Sept. 22, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Jets' maligned receivers made it known from the first series Sunday that dropping the ball wouldn't be an issue against the Bills.

Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley made huge plays on an impressive opening drive that ended with a Geno Smith rushing touchdown, and Santonio Holmes had the best receiving game of his career to help the Jets to a 27-20 win.

Holmes caught five passes for 154 yards and the deciding touchdown. Hill, who has had a problem holding onto the football, had three catches for 108 yards and a TD. It was the second-year receiver's first 100-yard game. Kerley, back after missing a game with a concussion, made two third-down catches for first downs.

"We've come far," Hill said. "We've come far mentally. We're starting to understand each other. Understanding what Marty Mornhinweg wants and also understanding what [receivers] coach Sanjay Lal wants. We got to go out and make plays.''

All three were playmakers, leading to the rookie Smith's first 300-yard passing game. He completed 16 of 31 for 331 yards.

After the Bills erased a 20-9 deficit and tied it at 20 with 10:47 left, a Smith-to-Holmes connection gave the Jets the lead for good. Holmes easily got past corner Justin Rogers, and Smith found him on the right sideline and he raced to the end zone for a 69-yard score.

"Our job is to go out and make plays,'' Holmes said. "Geno gave me the opportunity to make a play. The DB was unaware that he was even throwing me the ball at that time. The ball went in a perfect place for me to catch it.''

Holmes, who also had a 40-yard catch, is still working his way back from a fractured foot he suffered last Sept. 30. He said he's still only about 75- percent healthy.

"He may not be at 100 percent, but he's pretty darn good,'' Rex Ryan said. "He's a great receiver. He had no work through training camp and minicamp, so now he's just getting it.''

Holmes said, "It's been a year since I've played. Today was a good opportunity to showcase how well I can play from this point forward.''

Hill had his best performance since catching two touchdowns in the opener last year against Buffalo. He had only 16 catches and one TD the rest of the way.

But Hill had a 45-yard catch on the opening series yesterday and a 51-yard touchdown reception, making everyone forget about his drops last season.

"It ain't about pride and drops,'' Hill said. "The drops is not a problem. It's just it happens. People drop the ball. We just have to make sure we get paid for what we do and that's catching the ball. Just go out there and catch it and that's it.''

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