Going into the 2023 NFL season, the New York Jets had high expectations with the acquisition of four time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers. Those high hopes were soon dashed when Rodgers got injured in the fourth play of the first game against the Buffalo Bills and was ruled out for the rest of the season. Even though the Jets came back and won the game, there is doubt that the team will finish as playoff contenders.

High Hopes

After finishing the 2022 season with a lackluster 7-10 record, the Jets made headlines in the offseason when it was announced the team traded for Rodgers, in exchange for a first, second, and sixth round draft pick in the 2023 draft, along with a conditional second round pick in the 2024 draft.

The move came after the mediocre performance of Zach Wilson last year, who finished an last season with a 5-4 win-loss record in nine starts and threw for 1,688 yards with six touchdown and seven interceptions. The Jets, desperate to improve their offensive line, seemed to be going in the right direction with the trade.

On Aug. 26 at MetLife Stadium, Rodgers made his first on the field Jets appearance, starting against his teams fellow neighbor New York Giants in the last preseason game of the year. Rodgers started the game and showed his form, as he completed five out of eight passing attempts for 47 yards, throwing a 14 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Garrett Wilson before he was replaced.

In the end, the Jets won 34-24 and things seemed to be on the bright side for the team, but everything would change in the first regular season contest.

Victory at a cost

The Jets started the regular season at home playing against the Buffalo Bills in the first Monday night matchup of the year on Sep. 11. When Rodgers ran on to the field holding the American flag, the crowd went wild and were eager to see what their new team leader could do.

On his first snap, Rodgers handed the ball off to running back Breece Hall, who picked up 26 yards, which was then followed by an incomplete pass. A defensive holding call on Buffalo happened after another incomplete pass on the third play. On the fourth snap, as Rodgers was scrambling, he was tackled by Bills defensive end Leonard Floyd for a loss of ten yards.

Rodgers had fallen awkwardly and appeared injured on the play, needing to be helped off the field and taken to the locker room by trainers. With Rodgers out, the Jets turned to Z. Wilson to try and get the offense going.

The Bills struck first and by the end of the first half, were leading 13-3. The second half started with the Jets moving the ball down the field, but after Z. Wilson threw an incomplete pass for fourth and 13, this set up placekicker Greg Zuerlein for a 43 yard field goal to cut the deficit by seven. With 4:55 left in the game, the Jets tied it on a 3 yard acrobatic catch from G. Wilson in the endzone. Another field goal from Zuerlein for 30 yards put the Jets on top in the fourth.

However, the Bills came and tied it up with two seconds left on a 50 yard kick from Tyler Bass to send the game into over time. After keeping the Bills from driving down the field, the Jets made magic happen, as receiver Xavier Gipson caught a punt and ran it 65 yards for the game winning touchdown, capping off a brutal night that seemed to be a lost cause.

Z. Wilson finished the game with 14 complete passes out of 21 attempts for 140 yard with one touchdown and one interception. The real stars of the game though were the Jets defensive line, as they played strong and picked Josh Allen off three times, with all three interceptions coming at the hands of safety Jordan Whitehead in an epic battle.

The next morning, the Jets announced that Rodgers had torn his Achilles tendon and was out for the rest of the season, ending his first season in New York before it got started. With an uncertain future ahead, the Jets will have to make good with what they have.