New York Jets quarterback Mike White upset the Cincinnati Bengals in his first NFL start. He displayed one of the most improbable passing performances in NFL history. As the Jets stunned the Bengals, 34-31, being down 31-14 midway through the third quarter White was able to scratch and claw his way to victory. He replaced the talented rookie quarterback and number two draft pick, Zach Wilson, due to an injury he suffered in the New England Patriots game. Moreover, White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in the epic comeback. He was the first Jet to throw over 40 yards since 2000 and the most by a first time start since Cam Newton’s 422 yards for the Carolina Panthers in 2011, per ESPN.
It’s another Mike White Day. pic.twitter.com/Kv8DuXEEU7
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 4, 2021
Is Zach Wilson on the hot seat after White’s performance?
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh might have sparked a future quarterback controversy, indirectly. Saleh was bombarded after the game with questions about White’s future and plans going forward after this historic display. Saleh left it open-ended, to say the least. He didn’t comment on Wilson, although he is expected to miss at least one more game because of his sprained knee.
“We’ll go day-to-day, but anything is possible, right? Anything is possible,” Saleh said.
“It goes back to that whole theory, the difference between player A and player Z is opportunity and reps,” Saleh continued. “That’s what this league is. That’s why [guys] come out of nowhere; someone gets an opportunity. What Mike does with his opportunity, he’s got the world in front of him. He’s just got to take advantage of it.”
White is scheduled to play against the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, Saleh confirmed. If he continues to perform at this level, the Jets will have a huge decision to make when Wilson returns.
Who is Mike White and how did the New York Jets find him?
The 26-year-old, former Dallas Cowboy, has been cut five times in his NFL career. The Jets entered the Bengals game as an 11.5 underdog, making this the third-largest upset win over the past 40 seasons, per sources.
“Personally, I did a good job of not making it more than it is,” White said. “What helped a lot, too, was the coaches’ faith in me and the team’s faith in me. There wasn’t a flinch.”
Throwing mostly conservative passes, White completed 37 of 45 attempts. He showed plenty of control and confidence especially after his two first-half interceptions and a neck injury that made him miss a few snaps.
“Mike came to me on Saturday, and called me, and said he was going to let it rip to start the game,” said White, who played two-plus quarters last week. “He thought, with a backup getting his first start, they would be tight on the run game. The decision to cut it loose early caught them off guard.”