The New York Jets started the season with a big win over their division rival, the Buffalo Bills, in exciting fashion after Xavier Gipson had a walk-off 65-yard punt return to propel New York to a 22-16 win in OT at MetLife Stadium on Monday night.
However, there was a more significant story. Four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers played only four snaps after he tore his Achilles tendon while being sacked by Bills DE Leonard Floyd on the team’s first offensive series.
The 39-year-old is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh says he’s happy about the win but feels for Rodgers.
“I’m going to enjoy this win,” Saleh said after the game. “Winning in the NFL is hard regardless of who the quarterback is. Personally, I don’t hurt for me. I don’t hurt for our locker room. I hurt for Aaron and how much he has invested in all of this. I’m still going to say a prayer. I’m still going to hold out hope, but my heart is with Aaron right now and no one else.”
Without Rodgers, Jets third-year quarterback Zach Wilson played the rest of the way, and he did just enough. Wilson finished the game by completing 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
Like Saleh, Wilson feels sorry for Rodgers.
“I have so much love for Aaron (Rodgers), so my heart goes out to him,” Wilson said. “I have no idea what’s happened. I have to see what happened for a second, but I know he’ll find a way to keep working to get back, but it’s tough. That hurts us as a team, but my job as a quarterback is it’s my job to step up, and I’ve got to be able to be as efficient as I can in that offense.”
On Tuesday, Saleh made it clear that the Jets were Wilson’s team going forward.
“We are going to look through some things, but I do want to make it very clear: Zach (Wilson) is our quarterback,” he said. “We got a lot of faith in Zach. We’re really excited about his opportunity, but we’re rolling with Zach and excited for him and, like I said, this opportunity he’s going to get.”
You have to feeL for Rodgers. At this point, his career could be in jeopardy. It will be challenging for the 19-year veteran to return from this injury.
Regarding Wilson, this is why you drafted the 24-year-old with the second overall pick in the 2021 draft. However, time will be the judge whether or not he’s ready to lead the way for New York. As we saw on Monday night, the Jets’ defense is as advertised, as they forced four turnovers against the Bills, and it appears to be championship caliber.
New York will probably add another quarterback at some point, and it should be interesting to see what direction they will go in, but at this point, they are all in on Wilson, for better or worse.