The Jets beat the Bills in Week 1 in thrilling fashion, taking down the AFC East champions, 22-16, in overtime. The Green & White, however, reportedly lost starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers to an Achilles tendon tear. Here are three takeaways from the game.
The Jets could have easily folded after Rodgers, a four-time NFL MVP, exited the game after four plays. Instead, they clawed back from a 13-3 deficit. The defense forced 4 turnovers against the Bills while the offense made timely, explosive plays. Despite the rollercoaster of emotions players like WR Allen Lazard described, the Green & White enter Week 2 with a 1-0 record.
"I think we all know what we have in that locker room," HC Robert Saleh said. "I think we'll continue to keep speaking with the way we play. I think that's what those guys are. They are an unbelievably resilient group. We've already known that. Our defense came out in the second half and took it personal. Take the ball away from those guys four times, stop after stop after stop. I thought the offense was absolutely speaking the right language at halftime. We came out of the locker room and made the adjustments we needed to make and got the points we needed to get. Overall, I thought it was an unbelievable game all the way across the board, special teams obviously capping it off. Proud of the group. They didn't show us anything we didn't already know in the locker room."
See the best photos from the 2023 home opener victory during Monday Night Football against the Bills.
Hot Start on Special Teams
Xavier Gipson's 65-yard game-winning punt return touchdown in overtime was the third OT punt return TD in NFL history (Patrick Peterson in 2011 and Tamarick Vanover in 1995). Gipson, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Stephen F. Austin, had four return touchdowns for the Lumberjacks in three seasons.
"To the people that like Uno, think about when we lost to the Patriots last year," LB C.J. Mosley said, referring to last year's 10-3 loss at Foxborough on a punt return touchdown. "That's a reverse Uno. That's exactly how I felt. What a game.
"Shoutout to the special teams. That's what we've been harping on all offseason, making special teams relevant, having to make that one play to change the game and my dog X did it. As you could see, everybody was so happy for him. It was just a great feeling. It felt like a championship game. But it was only Game 1 and we have a short week, so have to make sure we move on quick."
Ground and Pound
The Jets' winning formula against the Bills on Monday was similar to last season's matchup at MetLife Stadium. Behind Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook, the offense totaled 172 rushing yards on 28 carries. In Week 9 last season, the Jets ran for 174 yards on 34 carries in a 20-17 win.
Hall led the team in Week 1 with 127 rushing yards including a career-long 83-yard scamper in his first game back from his ACL injury while Cook led the club with 13 carries.
"Once I got on the field, I was like I'm still that dude," Hall said. "Anytime I touch the ball I can do whatever I want with it. I always have that mentality, but I was just happy the coaches stuck with me today. They said I was going to have a pitch count before the game, but I told them, 'I know I'm on a pitch count, but I have to [go in], I will.' They kind of just rolled with me, Dalvin and M.C. carrying us today, so it was cool."