Aaron Rodgers’ injury overshadows Jets’ wild win over Bills. Plus, LeBron James returning to Team USA?

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😕 G̶o̶o̶d̶ morning to everyone but especially …

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THE NEW YORK JETS

I can’t tell you how to feel. My brain is still trying to comprehend the Jets‘ absurd 22-16 overtime win against the Bills. Truly one of the oddest games ever. All I know is that it is indeed the morning.

Let’s begin with Aaron Rodgers, who started – but did not come close to finishing – the game.

Following the trade, we had the former Packers teammates and coaches who followed, the pay cut, the “Hard Knocks” hype, the preseason touchdown pass, the run onto the field holding the American flag and the newfound hope for an entire fanbase. And then … Rodgers lasted just three plays before he left with an injury and did not return.

After the game, coach Robert Saleh said the team fears it’s an Achilles tear – “It’s not good,” the coach said – and Rodgers will get an MRI today.

  • Rodgers technically took four snaps: a Breece Hall run, a throw away, an incompletion negated by a defensive penalty and a Leonard Floyd sack. On the sack, Rodgers went down with his ankle bending awkwardly. After getting up, he returned to the turf. Rodgers got to the sideline but was then carted off in a boot.
  • Even the ManningCast was nearly speechless.
  • Rodgers’ former teammate, David Bakhtiari, called out the NFL for playing on turf, long a source of consternation.

So, in came Zach Wilson, who has been the NFL’s worst quarterback since being drafted second in 2021. And it looked like that would continue when he was intercepted by Matt Milano. But then he led four scoring drives, including a touchdown toss to Garrett Wilson, who made an incredible catch. Of course, it helped that Josh Allen had four turnovers – more on that in a bit – including a Jets franchise record-tying three interceptions by Jordan Whitehead.

Allen then led a game-tying drive capped by Tyler Bass‘ 50-yard field goal doinking in. But in overtime, Buffalo went three and out, and undrafted rookie Xavier Gipson took the ensuing punt back for a touchdown.

So, there is some joy in New York. There’s also a lot of pain. The Jets’ quarterback misery was supposed to end. Instead, this could be arguably its most disappointing chapter.

  • The Jets haven’t had a QB start an entire season since Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015. He only did so because Geno Smith broke his jaw in a locker-room altercation.
  • Rodgers was the Jets’ 12th different starting QB since 2016. Over that span, the Jets have the NFL’s worst passer rating, completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio.
  • Perhaps the most apt comparison – though none matches – is Vinny Testaverde tearing his Achilles in the Jets’ 1999 opener, one year after he led them to a 12-4 record.
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The silver lining is that the Jets won. The defense is utterly dominant. Breece Hall (127 yards) was magnificent in his first game back from a torn ACL. Garrett Wilson is a budding superstar. Zach Wilson didn’t look completely bewildered.

Despite the win, though, it’s impossible to get over the fact that this can’t be a great team like it could be with Rodgers. Week 1 wins are wonderful. Having your four-time MVP quarterback healthy is much, much better.

Jordan Dajani has potential quarterback targets for the Jets and Chris Towers has the Fantasy impact of the injury.

👍 Honorable mentions

  • Texas is up to No. 3 in Dennis Dodd’s College Football Power Rankings.
  • The NBA is trying another method to curb load management.
  • Tristan Thompson is back with the Cavaliers.
  • Matt Olson is the first player this season to 50 home runs.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. honored Kobe Bryant with these cleats.
  • The Cubs are calling up Pete Crow-Armstrong, whose mom starred in the movie “Little Big League.”
  • Evan Carter‘s first career home run helped the Rangers to a huge win over the Blue Jays.
  • Félix Bautista has a partially torn UCL … but his season might not be over.
  • The Brewers are adding Josh Donaldson to their roster.
  • Oregon State and Washington State got a legal victory over the Pac-12.

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😖 And definitely not such a good morning for …

USATSI

JOSH ALLEN AND THE BUFFALO BILLS

Josh Allen‘s four turnovers ranged from “no big deal” to “bad mistake” to “has he ever played football?”

  • Allen’s first interception was a deep shot to Stefon Diggs on third down. It was essentially an arm punt.
  • Allen’s second interception was another deep shot to Diggs on a second-and-12 into double coverage. It had no chance.
  • Allen’s third interception was an over-aggressive attempt toward Gabe Davis that had no margin for error. Allen erred – the ball was too far inside – and paid for it.
  • Allen’s fourth turnover featured him fumbling the snap, recovering, trying to salvage the play, getting drilled and fumbling again. It was a ridiculous sequence of mistakes.

Allen can be Superman. He can also be super (and maddeningly) lackadaisical with the ball. Since the start of last season, he has an NFL-high 23 turnovers. He also has the most in the league since 2018. Sometimes living to fight another down – or even just punt – is a victory. Allen’s inability to do that cost his team dearly.

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👎 Not so honorable mentions

  • Damian Lillard is holding firm that he’ll only report to Trail Blazers or Heat training camp.
  • Cameron Heyward (groin) will miss multiple weeks.
  • Dealing with injuries to both tackles, the Seahawks brought in 41-year-old Jason Peters for a visit.
  • Nick Saban must find answers.
  • Another clutch Bryce Harper home run went to waste.
  • Jose Siri fractured his hand.
  • Alek Manoah‘s frustrating season is over.
  • Adbert Alzolay (forearm) is on the IL.

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🏈 Chiefs, Chris Jones agree to reworked deal, star DL ends holdout

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The Chiefs may not have played Monday, but they were one of the night’s biggest winners regardless: Star defensive lineman Chris Jones agreed to a reworked one-year deal that officially ends his holdout.

  • Jones is still in the final year of a four-year, $80-million extension he signed in 2020, but his reworked deal now includes several incentive-based bonuses, per reports. He had held out through all of training camp and Week 1.
  • Jones is coming off a monster 15.5-sack season in which he made his fourth straight Pro Bowl and his first All-Pro first team while finishing third in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting.
  • This new deal allows Jones to make more money this season if he performs well and potentially allows him to hit free agency again this offseason while still in his prime: He turned 29 in July.

Jones has been a huge part of the Chiefs’ two Super Bowl titles as general manager Brett Veach explained in a statement. Jones was particularly terrific in last year’s AFC Championship when he had two sacks and five quarterback hits against Joe Burrow, including the sack that gave Kansas City the ball back to set up a game-winning field goal.

That type of impact was sorely missed last Thursday.

  • The Chiefs didn’t sack Jared Goff despite blitzing on 40% of his dropbacks.
  • Since 2020, the Chiefs produce a 39% pressure rate and a 7.1% sack rate when Jones is on the field, compared to 28% and 4.1%, respectively, when he’s not.

With Jones back and the Chiefs optimistic that Travis Kelce could return in Week 2, Kansas City is getting its biggest stars back alongside Patrick Mahomes – and not a moment too soon. The Chiefs visit the 1-0 Jaguars this weekend.

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🏈 NFL Week 1 overreactions and reality checks

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Week 1 is ripe for overreactions. It’s only Week 1, but it’s also the only Week 1. First impressions are important, though plenty will prove misleading. So, what’s here to stay, and what’s not? Jeff Kerr dove into all of that in his Week 1 overreactions and reality checks.

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Two of the week’s biggest performers are set up for huge seasons, Jeff says.

  • Kerr:Tua Tagovailoa is the early front-runner for MVP: Reality – When Tua Tagovailoa is healthy, the Dolphins offense is a juggernaut. … If Tagovailoa plays all 17 games with this offense, he’ll be in the MVP mix. Tyreek Hill is going to get 2,000 receiving yards this season: Reality – He only needs to average 111.6 yards per game to get to 2,000 thanks to his torrid start. … If Tagovailoa is healthy all season, Hill will reach the milestone he desires.”

As for an overreaction? Well, don’t expect one of Week 1’s worst quarterbacks to lose his job, Jeff writes.

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🏀 LeBron James interested in playing in 2024 Olympics, recruiting others

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Sunday, Sam Quinn took a look at how the United States’ 2024 Olympic men’s basketball team will differ from the one that just finished medal-less at the FIBA World Cup.

Monday, we got a hint: LeBron James reportedly wants to play next summer in Paris and is recruiting other stars to join him. That list reportedly includes …

  • Stephen Curry
  • Kevin Durant
  • Anthony Davis
  • Jayson Tatum
  • Draymond Green

One of the biggest issues for the US at the World Cup was a lack of size, but Sam explains how it might try to address that.

🏀 Kevin Porter Jr. arrested for domestic violence

Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. was arrested in New York City early Monday morning for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick. He’s being charged with assault and strangulation, both felonies.

  • Porter, 23, reportedly tried to return to the hotel room he and Gondrezick were sharing but found the door locked. After security helped him enter the room, he allegedly “beat up” Gondrezick. A New York City police spokesperson said Gondrezick went to the hospital following the incident.
  • In Aug. 2020, as a member of the Cavaliers, Porter was accused of punching a woman and pulling her hair. He was not charged. In November 2020, he was arrested for possessing a loaded gun after getting into a single-car accident.
  • The Cavaliers traded Porter to the Rockets after his locker-room outburst in early 2021. He signed a four-year extension worth up to $82.5 million last season.

📺 What we’re watching Tuesday

Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. on TBS ⚽ USMNT vs. Oman, 8:30 p.m. on TNT