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Highlights: Aaron Rodgers shines, NY Jets lead Giants at halftime

Aaron Rodgers, NY Jets, Debut, TD
Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets, Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers rules the day as the New York Jets enjoyed his touchdown pass and a halftime lead in the Snoopy Bowl

It’s likely that no amount of “It’s just preseason” detraction can knock New York Jets fans off their ongoing high after the first half of their 2023 preseason finale, one they lead by a 14-13 margin over the New York Giants in the annual battle for summer bragging rights at MetLife Stadium.

Saturday’s exhibition marked Aaron Rodgers’ unofficial debut as the Jets’ franchise quarterback and the future Hall-of-Famer lived up to his hype and then some on two possessions, the first of which yielded the Jets’ first score of the game.

Jets (14)

PASSING: Aaron Rodgers (5-of-8, 47 yards, 1 TD)
RUSHING: Zonovan Knight (1 carry, 2 yards)
RECEIVING: Garrett Wilson (3 rec., 30 yards, 1 TD)

Giants (13)

PASSING: Tommy DeVito (13-of-22, 126 yards, 1 INT)
RUSHING: James Robinson (6 carries, 36 yards)
RECEIVING: David Sils V (4 rec., 44 yards)

Oh, Aaron

Little more needs to be said about Rodgers finally donning a Jets game jersey, but here’s a little more.

Dressing and playing Rodgers – for two series, no less – perfectly fits in with the healthily absurd nature of this ongoing experiment, as it has taken only eight plays to officially instill hype back into green New York football. The gambit could’ve gone haywire in eight different ways (Jets fans likely held their breath when Rodgers became a target of newest New Yorker Isaiah Simmons) but Rodgers not only avoided disaster, he may have found a new level on his own hype machine.

Brandin Echols Finds Paydirt

Long regaled for their stoppage, even in the darkest hours, the Jets might have a diamond in the defensive rough in the form of cornerback Brandin Echols.

The sixth-round pick from 2021 won’t play in the opener against Buffalo due to a suspension but has the ability to rise as a depth star behind the headlining duo of Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed. Echols has been the Snoopy Bowl star since Rodgers’ departure – he took back a Tommy DeVito interception 67 yards for a score and he has also been credited with a pass defense while blue quarterbacks have avoided his dwelling.

Who’s Next?

Jets fans would perhaps be well-advised to enjoy one of their final stress-free weekends until February (they hope). In terms of anything to keep an eye on, the long, winding road to triple zeroes on the final preseason scoreboard will likely feature plenty of rushing attempts in order to take a shortcut (especially with so many injuries on the Giants’ side).

A potential roster spot has opened up depending on how long Israel Abanikanda is out, which could lead to a final battle between Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight. Another under-the-radar candidate to watch will be Xavier Gipson, who will likely get plenty of reps at receiver after setting up the Rodgers scoring drive with a 20-yard punt return.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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