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2023 NFL season, Week 1: What We Learned from Jets' overtime win against Bills on Monday night

New York Jets
2023 · 1-0-0
Buffalo Bills
2023 · 0-1-0


  1. Down, but not out. The highly anticipated debut of Aaron Rodgers lasted all of four snaps. An injury, confirmed on Tuesday morning to be a torn Achilles, forced Rodgers out of the game to the blue sideline tent, and to a cart to the locker room from there. Left with no choice but to press on with Zach Wilson, the Jets battled. It wasn't pretty, and for a while, it wasn't very exciting, but New York did just enough to regain the lead, with Wilson's best pass of the night (and perhaps of his career) setting up the best catch of Garrett Wilson's career to this point, a 3-yard magic act of a touchdown grab. When the Jets got a stop to start overtime, neither Wilson was needed. Hard Knocks star Xavier Gipson handled it for everyone, returning a punt 65 yards for a walk-off touchdown. The night was an incredibly volatile emotional roller coaster, with Rodgers' injury sucking the life out of MetLife Stadium. But as any New Yorker will tell you -- yes, we're aware they play in New Jersey -- they don't quit. That fight earned them a win amid significant adversity.
  2. Josh Allen's struggles at MetLife Stadium continue. Allen had a no-good, very bad day at MetLife last season, resulting in a surprising loss to the upstart Jets. Monday night looked a lot like that game. Allen threw three interceptions, fumbled away possession late in a tie game, and struggled to string together much of anything positive for most of the night. His best play came on Buffalo's lone touchdown pass, in which he just barely avoided crossing the line of scrimmage when throwing to Stefon Diggs. Other than that, Allen didn't look great, constantly harassed and forced out his comfort zone by New York's tireless pass rush, and finishing with a passing line for 29 of 41, 236 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. The Bills have plenty to clean up after this one.
  3. Breece Hall is so back. Monday night was Hall's first game with the Jets since suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2022, and he quickly eliminated any worries he might not be his old self. Hall finished with 127 yards on just 10 carries, ripping off runs of 26 and 83 yards on his first two carries. From there, Hall's gains were minimal, but he'd already made enough of a contribution to confirm his standing. Add in a catch for 20 yards and that's a 147-yard night for Hall. Not bad -- and with Dalvin Cook also in the Jets' backfield stable, things are looking good for New York's ground game.
  4. The Bills still lack a running game. Despite what was said during ESPN's broadcast, Buffalo did not, in fact, thrive on the ground Monday night. James Cook led the rushing attack with an effort that fell short of four yards per carry, finishing with 46 yards on 12 attempts. Allen led the way in per-carry average, gaining 36 yards on six rushes, but in total, the old story remained true: Buffalo is still missing balance on offense. Against a defense as ferocious as New York's, this lack of distribution made the climb a steep one for the Bills, explaining how they managed just 16 points on the night. Simply, this has to be better. 
  5. This Jets defense is special. New York might never see the fruits of the Rodgers hype garden, but all that talk about the Jets' defense was legitimate. Monday night's star was safety Jordan Whitehead, a former Buccaneer who brought title-winning experience to New York and played like a champion in the Jets' season opener, recording three interceptions, with the last of his trio standing as the most impressive of all. D.J. Reed was excellent, leading the Jets in tackles (11) and breaking up a pass intended for Diggs in overtime and forcing the punt that ended the game for everyone. Quincy Williams was on fire, too, breaking up a pass with his facemask (use your head, kids) in the end zone and racking up 10 tackles on the night. This is a group that is 11 -- actually, it's even more -- strong and will keep the Jets in every game this season, regardless of who is playing quarterback. The Jets proved that by suffocating the usually explosive Bills Monday night.

Next Gen stat of the game: Gipson's 65-yard punt-return touchdown gained +55 punt return yards over expected, the third-most PRYOE since the start of last season. Gipson had just a 0.8% chance of scoring when he initially fielded the punt. ... Bonus! Breece Hall gained +81 rushing yards over expected on 10 carries, the fifth-most RYOE in a game by a running back since the start of last season.

NFL Research: Xavier Gipson's punt return touchdown was the third overtime punt return TD in NFL history, joining Patrick Peterson (Week 9, 2011 versus St. Louis Rams) and Tamarick Vanover (Week 6, 1995 versus San Diego Chargers). He also joined Tyler Lockett (Week 1, 2015 at St. Louis Rams) as the only players in the last 10 seasons to score a punt return touchdown in their NFL debut.

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