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 take it one day at a time, but anything can happen, right? Anything is possible,” Saleh stated.
“It comes down to the idea that the only difference between player A and player Z is the chances they get and the practice they have,” Saleh added. “That’s the essence of this league. That’s why some players emerge unexpectedly; they get a shot. Mike has a world of possibilities ahead of him. He just needs to make the most of his opportunity.”
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.
“For me, I didn’t overcomplicate things,” White shared. “The support from the coaches and the team also played a big role. They had full confidence in me, and there was no hesitation.”
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.”