Home | Articles | Column | Studs and duds from NY Jets’ win over Buffalo

Studs and duds from NY Jets’ win over Buffalo

Sauce Gardner, Stefon Diggs, NY Jets, Bills
Sauce Gardner, New York Jets, Getty Images

Who shined and who struggled in the New York Jets’ season-opening victory?

Each week this season, I will be laying out my picks for the New York Jets‘ best and worst-performing players from their previous game – but with a twist.

Every player listed as a “stud” will receive a positive score ranging from 1 (solid) to 5 (dominant) based on their impact level, while every player listed as a “dud” will receive a negative score ranging from -1 (below average) to -5 (horrendous). The sum of all players’ scores will be equal to the Jets’ scoring margin from the game.

Here are my studs and duds from the Jets’ Week 1 victory over the Buffalo Bills. Since the Jets won by a score of 22-16, the scores below will add up to +6.


Sauce Gardner: -1

It’s a bit shocking to see Sauce Gardner start this list, but by his standards, this was a game to forget. On the night, Sauce was targeted five times and let up four receptions for 59 yards (tying a career-high) and three first downs. Gardner also missed two tackles, one of which allowed the Bills to convert a third down.

The fact that this is the worst game of Sauce’s career is more of a statement of his sheer dominance as a rookie. Gardner didn’t give up all too much, especially considering he played a whopping 51 coverage snaps. The Bills focused on short passes and didn’t challenge him deep. Gardner did not allow anything over the top, prevented the ball from getting into the end zone, and did not commit any penalties.

Still, Stefon Diggs had Gardner’s number in this one.

Zach Wilson: -1

Zach Wilson is back in the spotlight as the Jets’ QB1, and his debut was a mixed bag. Overall, it was an improvement from last season, especially when it came to his short accuracy. Wilson completed 11 of his 12 attempts under 10 yards. While nothing special, Wilson struggled greatly in this area in the past, so it’s important nonetheless.

However, Wilson still gets a negative point for two reasons.

The first reason is Wilson’s interception in the second quarter, which the Bills converted into three points to make it a two-score game at halftime. It was a bad interception, as Wilson didn’t see Matt Milano at all and stared down his receiver.

Second is how limited the offense became with Wilson under center. Wilson only attempted five passes of 10+ yards. Outside of a few third-and-long situations that forced a deep pass, the Jets mostly limited the game plan to screens and run plays.

Wilson only made one critical mistake with his interception, but the Jets never allowed him to make a second. Even his touchdown pass could’ve been intercepted (or at the very least fallen incomplete) if it wasn’t for Garrett Wilson’s heroics. Wilson will need to build on the progress he made and start extending the field if the Jets hope to compete in 2023.

Laken Tomlinson: -2

The Jets’ biggest signing from 2022 continued his struggles in Week 1 of 2023. Laken Tomlinson‘s strength was supposed to be in the run game but he again struggled against the Bills. He missed several blocks and ended up ranking 54th out of 65 qualified guards in Week 1 with a 45.0 run-blocking grade.

Tomlinson did a better job in pass protection, only allowing two pressures, but he was frequently helped by Connor McGovern. Tomlinson also struggled to make an impact as a blocker in space on screen plays.

The Jets need their highly-paid veteran to start playing up to his pay grade.

Duane Brown: -3

We all know why Duane Brown is on this list. While the play that ended in Aaron Rodgers’ injury wasn’t completely his fault, it was still a poor rep that put his quarterback in danger.

That play was a sign of things to come, as Brown led the Jets in pressures allowed with four. Brown also struggled in the run game as the Jets didn’t get much going when they ran to the left side.

The 38-year-old veteran missed all of training camp and it showed early in the game. The Jets will need better from their blindside protector as they face off against the Dallas Cowboys this week.


Xavier Gipson: +1

The reigning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week and Pepsi Rookie of the Week starts our list for his game-winning punt return in overtime. The undrafted free agent was a fan favorite on Hard Knocks and immediately proved his value in the first game of his career.

Following the Jets’ defense forcing a three-and-out in overtime, fans were holding their breath wondering if the offense could make it to field goal range. Fortunately, the offense never needed to take the field.

Following a low punt, Xavier Gipson weaved through the crowd for a 65-yard return touchdown to end the game. Gipson’s touchdown was only the third punt return touchdown in overtime history. Several Jets players contributed with key blocks but the rookie did his part by forcing multiple missed tackles and displaying excellent vision as he made his way down the field.

D.J. Reed: +1

D.J. Reed continued his quietly excellent play with a good performance against the Bills. While the game was a step back from the dominance he displayed last season (27.5 YPG allowed), it was still excellent. On the night, Reed gave up seven catches on ten targets for 58 yards.

While it was the most catches and targets Reed has allowed as a Jet, only two of the 10 targets went for first downs. His 5.8 yards per target allowed was right around his 2022 season average (5.6).

Notably, Reed forced two third-down incompletions to make the Bills punt at critical moments of the game – one on the opening drive of the game and another on Buffalo’s overtime drive.

Garrett Wilson: +1

The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year made his presence felt despite the loss of Aaron Rodgers. Garrett Wilson caught all five of his targets for 34 yards, three first downs, and this unreal touchdown.

Wilson showed elite ball tracking, effort, and hands in this touchdown – which is an early favorite for catch of the year.

While he did not get off to the statistical start many were hoping for, Wilson still made several critical plays and tough catches.

Breece Hall: +2


In his first game back, Breece Hall wasted no time reminding everyone why he was the favorite for OROY before his injury. Hall raced out to 109 yards on his first two carries, picking up 26 yards on his first attempt and 83 yards on the second. It stands as the second-longest rush in Jets franchise history.

Hall showed the elite vision, patience, and speed that made him a sensation as a rookie. While he’s still working his way back to peak form – as shown by being caught on his 83-yard run and the fact New York only gave him 11 total touches – Hall already appears to be just as much of a game-changer as he was last year.

With an improved offensive line and Dalvin Cook next to him, I expect Hall to make a big play whenever he touches the ball.

Quincy Williams: +2

The “second” Williams brother was everywhere against the Bills.

Quincy Williams made his mark in both phases, recording four stops against the run and three against the pass. His total of seven defensive stops tied for the third-most among linebackers in Week 1.

Quincy brought his usual energy, laying down big hits galore, but he also removed the mistakes. He didn’t miss a single tackle and only allowed one first down in pass coverage.

His biggest play on the night was breaking up a potential touchdown pass to James Cook at the end of the first half. The Quincy of old would’ve likely failed to recover in time and the Jets may not have been able to overcome a 17-3 deficit, but the 27-year-old has begun to fulfill his potential since joining the Jets.

Quinnen Williams: +3

After receiving a massive extension this offseason, Quinnen Williams replicated the dominant play against Buffalo that he displayed in 2022.

Williams racked up five pressures and three defensive stops, including two tackles for loss against the run. He was the only defensive tackle in the NFL with at least five pressures and two TFLs against the run in Week 1.

Quinnen’s dominance is captured in this play as he flies past the offensive tackle to take James Cook down for a loss. The entire Jets defensive line dominated in Week 1 and fans can expect that to continue.

Jordan Whitehead: +3

No player did more to help the Jets win this game than Jordan Whitehead. His three-interception performance set a career-high for picks in a season and earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Following an offseason where he was discussed as a cut candidate, Whitehead shut down any speculation with his Week 1 performance. Even outside of the interceptions, Whitehead impressed, as he didn’t allow a single catch in coverage.

Want More Jet X?

Subscribe to become a Jet X Member to unlock every piece of Jets X-Factor content (film breakdowns, analytics, Sabo with the Jets, etc.), get audio versions of each article, receive the ability to comment within our community, and experience an ad-free platform experience.

Download the free Jet X Mobile App to get customizable notifications directly to your iOS (App Store) or Android (Google Play) device.

Sign up for Jet X Daily, our daily newsletter that's delivered to your inbox every morning at 8:00 a.m. ET.

Add Jets X-Factor to your Google News feed and/or find us on Apple News to stay updated with the New York Jets.

Follow us on X (Formerly Twitter) @jetsxfactor for all the latest New York Jets news, Facebook for even more, Instagram for some of the top NY Jets images, and YouTube for original Jets X-Factor videos.

Related Articles

About the Author

More From Author


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments