Bills vs. Jets: Week 1 Recap and Highlights

Jets-Bills Week 1 Xavier Gipson

The Bills faced the Jets on Sept. 11 in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season. Here are takeaways and highlights from the game.

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Final Score: Jets 22, Bills 16

The pregame scene in New York featured coaches on both sidelines donning NYPD and FDNY hats to honor the men and women who courageously served in the treacherous events of Sept. 11, 2001. Viewers of pregame festivities also witnessed Aaron Rodgers run out of the tunnel waving an American flag in his much-anticipated Jets debut. Many fans reasonably expected the first Monday night game of the season to be an exciting, high-scoring affair. Although there was a lack of offensive firepower throughout the game, there was absolutely no shortage of excitement in this one as the Jets topped the Bills, 22-16, in overtime.

The Jets had the life sucked out of them early when Aaron Rodgers, their prized free agent acquisition, went down with a reported ankle injury on just his fourth snap as a New York Jet. Rodgers’ x-rays came back negative, but he did not return.

That left Zach Wilson as the Jets’ signal caller in this clash of AFC East rivals, and he did enough to lead his team to victory. Wilson finished 14 of 21 for 140 yards with one touchdown and one interception. While his performance was mostly forgettable, wide receiver Garrett Wilson made an unforgettable catch that knotted the game at 13-13 with just 4:55 remaining.

The Bills could never really get anything going on offense. Aside from an 11-play, 75-yard drive in the second quarter that resulted in a Stefon Diggs touchdown reception, the Jets defense stonewalled the Bills offense for most of the game. Bills quarterback Josh Allen struggled in the contest finishing 29-for-41 with 236 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions (all picked off by Jets safety Jordan Whitehead). On the first play of the drive following the third interception, Allen fumbled the snap, which the Jets recovered with the game tied. Jets kicker Greg Zuerlein made the go-ahead 30-yard field goal to give New York a 16-13 lead with 1:48 left to play.

The Bills answered with a game-tying 50-yard field goal from Tyler Bass to send the game to overtime. Buffalo then won the toss only to go three-and-out, forcing them to punt on their first possession. Jets rookie wide receiver Xavier Gipson fielded the punt from Sam Martin at their own 35 and returned it 65 yards to the end zone in spectacular fashion for an exclamation point victory for the New York Jets in overtime.




Looking Forward

The biggest story to emerge from this game is the status of Aaron Rodgers, who is feared to have a torn Achilles. If this is the case, Rodgers’ season will be over. While the Jets pulled out a gutsy win, the performance should mostly be credited to their defense and special teams. Without Rodgers, the offense will continue to be average under Zach Wilson and will likely see their 2023 season end similarly to last year. The Jets will travel to Dallas next week to face a Cowboys team that absolutely dismantled the New York Giants on Sunday night with a final score of 40-0.

The Bills would have loved to secure a Week 1 divisional win on the road, but they should not panic following this loss. Josh Allen will obviously need to eliminate the turnovers if they want to see any postseason success, but the team should feel confident in their overall performance. Buffalo was fortunate to not suffer any injuries in this matchup. Next week, they return home to play against the Las Vegas Raiders who narrowly beat the Denver Broncos in Week 1, 17-16.

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