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What we learned from Bills vs. Jets: Rodgers suffers torn Achilles as New York wins

Despite Aaron Rodgers going down with a season-ending injury early, the New York Jets rounded out Week 1 of the new season with a dramatic 22-16 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.

The game had all the elements required for a prime-time drama with big plays, turnovers, game-tying kicks with seconds to go, a walk-off punt return for a touchdown in overtime and a major injury to one of the biggest stars around.

So let's round up what we learned about the two teams and their prospects for the rest of the 2023 season from 60-plus action-packed minutes of action at MetLife Stadium.

Rodgers' injury is the cruelest of 'Hard Knocks'

Jets fans probably believe their team is cursed because even when they win, they lose. To see quarterback Aaron Rodgers leave the field after just four offensive snaps brought them crashing back to reality.

The team spent the whole offseason wooing the four-time MVP and then all of training camp fawning over how great he was and how far he could take them into the postseason.

Rodgers will now seemingly play no further part in the journey this year after reportedly rupturing his left Achilles early in the first quarter against Buffalo.

While gutting for the team and its long-suffering fans, this must be equally desperate news for the former Green Bay Packers star.

Rodgers' zest for the game, documented by the HBO series 'Hard Knocks', appeared as good as ever in preseason and the 39-year-old spoke about playing football into his mid-40s just last week.

But Achilles injuries are notoriously hard to recover from and there will be concerns that he may never return in the same shape as he was before it occurred.

Jets still not sold on Zach

Although they went on the beat the Bills with backup Zach Wilson in relief, there were enough offensive miscues and stunted drives to suggest that last year's starter is still not at the level to win games for the Jets, +550 to win the AFC East, in the playoffs.

The third-year QB completed 14 of his 21 pass attempts for 140 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

His touchdown throw was off target and could also have been picked off, but Garrett Wilson pulled off an incredible juggling catch right in front of the defender.

And there was evidence that the Jets coaching staff still do not trust Wilson enough in the red zone when they conservatively called three consecutive run plays from the Bills' 16-yard line, despite New York having the chance to ice the game with two minutes left in regulation.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas will now be digging deep in his contacts book to find a way of improving their situation under center with speculation already surrounding several veteran quarterbacks that are still on the free agent market.

Allen not living his best life at MetLife

Josh Allen, who is +750 to be the Regular Season MVP, had a night to forget at MetLife Stadium, mirroring the struggles he went through in Buffalo's 20-17 regular season loss in New Jersey last November.

The Bills QB committed four turnovers, tying a career-high, which included three interceptions thrown to the same Jets defender — safety Jordan Whitehead.

The sixth-year quarterback was picked off twice when he threw deep into double coverage and again failed to spot Whitehead jumping Gabe Davis' out pattern with the Bills up 13-6 midway through the fourth quarter.

That mistake proved very costly when the Jets tied the game on the next possession and they took the lead off the back of Allen fumbling the first play from scrimmage after the TD.

Buffalo are now 9-13 when Allen turns the ball over two or more times in a game and 43-13 when he turns it over once or not at all.

"I hurt our team tonight. I cost our team tonight," Allen told reporters after the game. "It feels eerily similar to last year and I hate that it's the same. I do."

The Bills quarterback is the cover star of the EA Sports' Madden NFL '24 game and some fans were quick to attribute his woes to the famed 'Madden curse' that has dogged some of his predecessors in the past.

Penalties cost Bills in more ways than one

Buffalo were penalized five times on Monday night at a cost of 40 yards, four times as many as the Jets, although New York were not exactly squeaky clean themselves.

The officials threw two flags on a busted screen play that saw Wilson backpedal almost to the half-way line before throwing the ball away near the end of the first half.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott declined both penalties in order to force fourth down and left New York kicker Greg Zuerlein with a makeable 43-yard field goal, which he duly put between the uprights to cut the lead to 13-6 at the half.

Having declared he would be more aggressive with his calls in preseason, it seemed like a conservative call to decline in that spot and not push the Jets further out of range.

McDermott did the same in a 9-6 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars two years ago in which Jags kicker Matthew Wright made a 55-yard attempt in the second quarter and does not appear to have learned his lesson yet.

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