It was the definition of a rollercoaster night at MetLife Stadium, as the NFL’s first overtime game of the 2023 season ended with in the most thrilling way possible.
Rookie Xavier Gipson, who went undrafted and made the New York Jets‘ 53-man roster out training camp, returned a Buffalo Bills punt back 65 yards to seal the victory, 22-16.
The Jets mobbed Gipson as a crowd of over 83,000 bellowed from the stands for the team’s first win of the season.
Josh Allen and the Bills won the coin toss to start overtime after tying it with a last-second drive in the fourth quarter to force extra time, but they were forced into a three-and-out. The Jets took advantage and it made up for what looked to be an absolutely tragic start to the 2023 season.
The Jets’ new quarterback, four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, ran onto the turf with an American flag during pre-game intros to begin his new journey as the team’s signal caller.
But just four plays into his season, Rodgers was sacked by Bills edge rusher Leonard Floyd, and he needed trainers to help him walk off the field.
Rodgers was carted off the field to get X-rays, which came back negative. However, he was seen in walking boot and the Jets ruled him out for the remainder of the game, leaving many to fear the worst.
As Jets fans in the stands and watching at home fear the worst for Rodgers, his backup and the team’s second overall pick from two years ago, Zach Wilson, had to lead the offense for the rest of the night.
But Allen didn’t take any real advantage of a Rodgers-less Jets team. In fact, he kept the Jets in this game the whole way.
Allen threw three interceptions in his 2023 debut, and it was Jets safety Jordan Whitehead collecting all of them as he read the Bills’ signal caller all night long. And it was the third pick by Whitehead that finally made it hurt for Buffalo.
Wilson led his best drive of the night to get the Jets in the red zone. On second-and-goal, Wilson saw 1-on-1 coverage by Tre’Davious White on star receiver Garrett Wilson, and lofted up a fade hoping the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year could haul it in.
Wilson did just that with arguably the best catch of this new NFL season, using one hand to corral an acrobatic catch for the Jets’ first touchdown of the year. The crowd erupted as the extra point from Greg Zuerlein went through the uprights.
The Bills, down three now, needed a drive to at least tie the game and send it to overtime. Allen got the Bills down the field enough for his kicker, Tyler Bass, to kick a 50-yard field goal that doinked off the left upright and snuck in to make it 16 apiece with two seconds left to play.
With both defenses an elite group, the first touchdown in this one finally came in the second quarter when Josh Allen found his favorite target, Stefon Diggs, who he found sprinting in the end zone as he scrambled away from multiple Jets defenders.
Diggs finished the game with 102 yards on 10 catches with his touchdown, making up for a lot of the Bills’ offense. Allen’s night, which also included a fumble that led to the Jets kicking the go-ahead field goal to make it 16-13 in the fourth quarter, saw a 29 of 41 line for 236 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
For the Jets, Wilson was 14 of 21 for 140 yards with a touchdown and interception, while Breece Hall shocked many with 10 carries and 127 yards including an 83-yarder in the first half. Dalvin Cook’s debut saw 33 yards on 13 carries as well as 26 yards through the air.