Jets WR/KR Xavier Gipson has been named the NFL's Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Week for his walk-off 65-yard punt return touchdown in the Green & White's 22-16 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills.
With the game tied, 16-16, in extra time at MetLife Stadium Monday, Bills punter Sam Martin hit a 42-yard punt toward the center of the field and in Gipson's direction. The undrafted rookie fielded the ball at the 35-yard line, paused to allow for blocks to set, cut left towards the sideline and accelerated past defenders for the game-winning score.
It was the third OT punt return TD in NFL history (Patrick Peterson in 2011 and Tamarick Vanover in 1995). For the night, Gipson had one fair catch and returned 2 others for 66 yards.
"I'm going to speak for our entire locker room and say we knew he was going to get one today," HC Robert Saleh said of Gipson. "We just had a feeling. That kid is electric with the ball in his hands. If I am a team, I am not kicking to him. Let him keep proving it. None of us in the locker room are surprised he took one."
Gipson did not hear his name called in April's NFL Draft but had an impressive training camp as a receiver and returner to help him make the 53-man roster. Over the Jets' four preseason games, Gipson returned 5 punts for an average of 13.4 yards including two returns of 25+ yards.
Monday, Gipson came up clutch with big return that also earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
"It was meaningful," Gipson said. "Knowing how hard I work, knowing my position, how fast it could have ended and Coach Saleh, I thank those guys for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to show what I can do."
The Jets continued their dominance over the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Year award. Last season, a Jets rookies won the award 10 times in 18 weeks.