While Aaron Rodgers’ season ending torn left Achilles tendon has many Jets fans thinking their home team is the centerpiece of some modern day Greek tragedy, there were actually some bright spots from last night’s calamitous 2023 season opener against the visiting Buffalo Bills. First of all, the Jets ended up winning the game in OT by a score of 22-16 — despite Rodgers being forced to leave the game in the team’s first offensive drive.
Second was the Jets’ running game, more specifically the triumphant return of star running back Breece Hall, who was stricken by a season-ending torn ACL during October of last season. Hall showed little signs of rust as he rushed for 127 yards on only 10 touches and added a 20-yard-reception to the mix. Although there’s always concerns with running backs returning from injury, specifically crucial ones like ACL tears, Hall was confident once he set foot back on the field after 319 days of absence.
“Once I got on the field, I knew I was still that dude,” the 5’11,” 220-pound Hall said after the game. “Anytime I touch the ball, I can do whatever I want with it. I have always had that mentality. I was just happy the coaches stuck with me today.”
Jets head coach Robert Saleh added, “He is so slippery. He is deceptively slippery.”
In his rookie year last season with the Jets, Hall put up impressive numbers: 463 yards rushing on 80 attempts (5.8 yards per carry), with 4 rushing touchdowns, as well as 19 receptions, one of which was a 79-yard touchdown reception against the Dolphins in Week 3 of the 2022 season. Those numbers would have obviously been much more impressive if Hall hadn’t missed the last 10 games of the season.
Although Rodgers didn’t have the opportunity to make even one completion in his first appearance as the Green and White quarterback before falling to injury, he did hand the ball off to Hall, who surged past Bills defender Leonard Floyd for a 26-yard gain. It was Hall’s only carry of the quarter, but he made it count.
“The coaches told me before the game I would be on a pitch count,” he said. “But I told them I know I am on pitch count, but if I have to roll with it, I will.”
In the second quarter, Hall broke free on a handoff from backup quarterback Zach Wilson, racing for a career-high 83-yard-run (the second longest run in NY Jets history), one which would’ve ended up a touchdown if Bills cornerback Christian Benford hadn’t been able to force him out of bounds at the 13-yard-line.
“Breece looked good,” Saleh said. “I am going to mess with him a little bit for getting caught on that long one. He is still getting his legs back. But he still has such great vision and burst.”
Hall explained of the long run, “I hadn’t played in a year, and I got tired bro. He caught me, but I won’t get caught again.”
Saleh added, “I am excited for [Hall]. He had a couple of great runs and a big screen. He is only going to get bigger and better and stronger.”
What did you think of the performance by Jets RB Breece Hall after his first game back from ACL injury? Let us know in the comments.