Jordan Whitehead #3 of the New York Jets celebrates his...

Jordan Whitehead #3 of the New York Jets celebrates his third quarter interception against the Buffalo Bills with teammate Michael Carter II #30 at MetLife Stadium on Monday, Sep. 11, 2023 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Jim McIsaac


Grade: B

It wasn’t pretty, and it took a while for things to get going. But bonus points must be given for dealing with the shock of having Aaron Rodgers go down on the first possession of the game. Zach Wilson and friends acquitted themselves well down the stretch. Breece Hall had an impressive return from last season’s ACL tear, rushing 10 times for 127 yards — including an 83-yarder — and catching one pass for 20. Garrett Wilson had five catches for a modest 34 yards, but he made two crucial catches on the sole touchdown drive, including a scoring catch on which he tipped the ball to himself, then nabbed it.

On the negative side, veteran left tackle Duane Brown gave up the sack on which Rodgers was injured, and was devastated by that failure when he spoke to reporters after the game.


Grade: A

The Bills’ star quarterback, Josh Allen, was out of sorts all night, throwing three interceptions to safety Jordan Whitehead alone — the most in a game by a Jet since 2006 — and failing to get the high-powered Buffalo offense in gear. Allen lost a fumble late in the fourth quarter, giving him four giveaways on opening night. Given what the offense was dealing with after losing Rodgers in the first quarter, the defense knew it had to keep the Jets in the game and give Zach Wilson time to figure things out, and that is exactly what the unit did.


Grade: A

Greg Zuerlein made three field goals, which is nice. But that obviously is not the reason for this grade. It is all about Xavier Gipson, an undrafted rookie receiver who impressed coaches with his kick return skills in camp, became one of the stars of the Jets’ appearance on “Hard Knocks” and made the roster after being on the bubble for weeks. Fifty-eight seconds into overtime, he returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown, sparking a raucous celebration at MetLife Stadium.


Grade: A

Robert Saleh and his assistants get this A for a night on which they had to keep themselves and their players together after losing Rodgers on the opening drive after months of anticipation and hype. The defense was excellent throughout, but it took until late in the game for the offense to sort out its emotions and its approach. Also give Saleh and his staff credit for seeing early on that they had a keeper in Gipson. Saleh predicted Gipson would make an impact in the return game at some point. That point was Week 1. But now the real work begins for Saleh. What can he get out of this team without Rodgers under center?

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