New York Jets Defeat Buffalo Bills in First Monday Night Game

Colter Marino ’27

Contributing Writer

On Monday, Sept. 11, the Buffalo Bills took on the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium for the highly anticipated first Monday night football game of the 2023 NFL season. After a quick trip to overtime, the Jets walked away with their first win of the season. Though Jets fans may ask, “At what cost?” After a Bills drive stalling at their 42 yard-line, the revamped Jets offense received the ball. But on just the fourth play from scrimmage, their new star quarterback from Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Coach Robert Saleh of the Jets had no choice but to put in former 2nd overall pick, Zach Wilson, whose spot in New York has remained up in the air this offseason.

The Jets’ defense, the MVP of the game for New York, held strong following the loss, only giving up a field goal to Josh Allen of the Bills. One drive later with the ball back in the hands of Allen, Jordan Whitehead had his first pick of many on the night on an ill-advised throw downfield by Allen. Coming off a solid rookie year cut short by injury, second-year running back Breece Hall seized the opportunity with an electrifying 83-yard run to set up a field goal to tie the game for the Jets. Starting on their own 25-yard line, the Bills marched down to the opposite end zone where audiences witnessed their first Allen to Diggs touchdown of the season. With the game now at 10-3 Buffalo, Wilson threw an interception to veteran linebacker Matt Milano swaying momentum in the favor of the Bills.

Entering the half with a 13-3 deficit, Breece Hall again put the Jets in field goal range where they shortened the margin to 13-3. With possession back to the Bills and threatening to score on their first drive of the half, Allen launched another pass downfield only to fall into the hands of Jordan Whitehead yet again. Things only went downhill for the Bills where after both teams traded punts, Allen threw his third interception of the night to begin the fourth quarter. Tying his most thrown interceptions in a game at three. Shockingly, Jordan Whitehead was the one to come up with all three interceptions. Three interceptions that tied the Jets’ franchise record and allowed Whitehead to earn a season-long incentive for $250,000. On the ensuing drive, Jets’ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett put in some more pass plays that lead to Wilson finding Garret Wilson in the endzone. The praised second-year receiver made a spectacular juggling catch to tie the game at 13-13. Immediately following the touchdown, Josh Allen turned the ball over again on a fumble and gave the ball right back to the Jets who cashed in with a field goal to take the lead.

All was not lost for the Bills. On their final drive of regulation, and despite a terrible second half, Allen and Diggs turned into a two-man wrecking crew to set up a field goal sending both teams to overtime. With the Bills winning the toss and electing to receive, Allen had a chance to redeem himself and finish with a win. Though this was not to be with the Bills sending on their punt team after a quick three and out. The Bills defense was still playing strong and could likely hold Wilson and the Jets to a field goal. But on the punt to recently signed return specialist Xavier Gibson, tragedy struck for the Bills, while Jets fans found something to lift their spirits. Gibson returned it 65 yards to put the Jets over the top and defeat the Buffalo Bills in their season opener.

The story for the Jets though is the 16 games ahead. Saleh named Zach Wilson to be their starting quarterback moving forward. However, questions remain about how long this will last after his less than mediocre seasons with the Jets since being drafted in 2020. The Bills are facing many questions of their own after such a disappointing start by their franchise quarterback. Head coach Sean McDermott remarked, “When you turn the ball over four times, it’s hard to win in this league.” The Jets will be traveling to Texas for week two to face the red hot Dallas Cowboys who will no doubt be a challenge, while the Bills will stay at home to host the Raiders in their home opener.

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