Jets lose Aaron Rodgers for the season to an Achilles tendon injury

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets pulled off one of their most exciting and unlikely victories in years — and still couldn’t completely enjoy it.

Not with knowing they might have to go the rest of the way without their leader.

Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of the Jets’ 22-16 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills just four snaps into his debut on Monday night with what coach Robert Saleh said is believed to be an injured left Achilles tendon.

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“It caught us off guard,” cornerback Sauce Gardner said. “But we dedicated winning the game to him.”

Rodgers was sacked by Buffalo’s Leonard Floyd and fell awkwardly on the leg. Saleh said the 39-year-old Rodgers would have the MRI on Tuesday after X-rays during the game were negative.

“Concerned with his Achilles,” a somber Saleh said. “MRI is probably going to confirm what we think is going to happen, so prayers tonight. But it’s not good.”

It cast a pall over the game — won when rookie Xavier Gipson returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown — and perhaps the Jets’ season.

“It has been a roller coaster of emotions,” Gardner said.

New York’s aggressive defense forced four turnovers from Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who was picked off three times by Jordan Whitehead in a wild and often ugly season opener.

“We made it pretty hard on ourselves,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “When you turn the ball over four times, it’s hard to win in this league. You’re playing two opponents: the one on the other sideline and yourself. That’s what we did tonight and that’s not the right formula to win games.”

With the game tied, Micheal Clemons forced a fumble by Allen that was recovered by Quinnen Williams, setting up Greg Zuerlein’s third field goal — a 30-yarder — with 1:48 remaining to put the Jets ahead for the first time.

But Allen and the Bills had just enough time to get in scoring position again, and Tyler Bass’ 50-yard kick hit the left upright before going over the crossbar to tie it at 16 with 2 seconds left in regulation.

After Buffalo went three-and-out to start overtime, Sam Martin punted 42 yards and Gipson fielded it, made a few moves early and then scampered down the left sideline, made a couple more cuts and zipped into the end zone to set off a huge celebration by his teammates.