The Jets’ Chad Morton rumbles for a game-winning kickoff return in overtime against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 8, 2002, at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.

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10 Most Memorable Jets Season Openers

September 08, 2018 - 6:24 pm


While the Jets’ record in season openers — 27-31 — is mediocre, Gang Green has been fairly tough to beat in recent years, winning seven of their last 10 Week 1 games.

Gang Green will try to keep that hot streak going Monday night when they visit the Detroit Lions.

Here’s a look at the 10 most memorable Jets season openers — most good, but some bad.

10. Sept. 9, 2012: Jets 48, Bills 28

Mark Sanchez passed for 266 yards and three touchdowns, two to Stephen Hill, in this rout at MetLife Stadium. (Footnote: It was also Tim Tebow’s Jets debut.)

The Jets’ Mark Sanchez (6) and Tim Tebow celebrate a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills during their season opener at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 9, 2012.
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9. Sept. 2, 1984: Jets 23, Colts 14

Mark Gastineau tied a Jets record that still stands today by sacking Colts quarterback Mike Pagel four times.

8. Sept. 15, 1968: Jets 20, Chiefs 19

Don Maynard caught eight passes for 203 yards and scored on TD throws of 57 and 30 yards from Joe Namath. Maynard’s mark that day still ranks fifth all-time in team history in terms of receiving yardage.

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7. Aug. 31, 1997: Jets 41, Seahawks 3

In Gang Green’s biggest blowout win in a season opener, Neil O’Donnell passed for 270 yards and five touchdowns and Adrian Murrell rushed for 131 yards at the Seattle Kingdome.

6. Sept. 12, 2004: Jets 31, Bengals 24

Curtis Martin enjoyed one of the best days ever by a Jets running back, rushing for 196 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

5. Sept. 6, 1998: 49ers 36, Jets 30 (OT)

Garrison Hearst’s 96-yard touchdown run in overtime spoiled Jets QB Glenn Foley’s big day (415 yards and three TDs).

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4. Sept. 11, 2011: Jets 27, Cowboys 24

Playing at MetLife Stadium on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Jets trailed 24-10 early in the fourth quarter but rallied for the victory. Sanchez found Plaxico Burress for a TD pass, Isaiah Trufant returned a blocked punt for a score, and Nick Folk connected on a 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds left.

3. Sept. 9, 2007: Patriots 38, Jets 14

The game itself was nothing special, especially for Jets fans. But this will forever be known as the “Spygate Game” after Jets coach Eric Mangini turned in the Patriots for having its staffers film the Jets’ defensive signals.

2. Sept. 12, 1999: Patriots 30, Jets 28

The Jets entered the season with lofty expectations after finishing the previous year 12-4, but quarterback Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles’ tendon in the opener, ending his season prematurely. The Jets ended up 8-8.

The Jets’ Vinny Testaverde grabs his leg in pain on Sept. 12, 1999, against the New England Patriots at Giants Stadium.
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1. Sept. 8, 2002: Jets 37, Bills 31 (OT)

Chad Morton returned the overtime kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to win it. It was his second kickoff-return TD of the day.