New York Jets quarterback Mike White started in place of an ineffective Zach Wilson against the Bears on Sunday, and maybe, just maybe, the Jets may have found their starting quarterback for the rest of the season and beyond.
White, who battled the rain, was 22/28 for 315 yards and three touchdowns as the Jets routed the Bears 31-10 at MetLife Stadium. White led the Jets on an opening drive touchdown for the first time this season when he connected with Garrett Wilson on an eight-yard touchdown pass. In fact, White finished the first half with 235 yards and two touchdowns. The 235 yards in the first half is the most by a Jets quarterback since 2006.
“He did a great job,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said after the win. “He didn’t need to be anybody but Mike White. We didn’t need to turn into ‘The Greatest Show on Turf.’ We just wanted him to play within himself and play efficient. I thought he did that.”
White hit ten different receivers on Sunday, including Jets rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who had five catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson had high praise for White.
“He comes in and prepares, goes about his business the right way and goes about his preparation the right way, and you do things like that consistently, you’re going to get it back on the back end,” Wilson said. “I think we saw that today. That’s a really good talent, really good mindset, and when you have things like that, that’s what comes up.”
In three starts, Flacco threw five touchdowns, Wilson had four touchdowns in seven starts, and White came close to that number on Sunday.
“It’s awesome, just going out there and playing football with your friends and guys you’ve been with for a couple years now,” White said about getting the start. “When it wasn’t my time to play, obviously, I’m super supportive of them, and I’m having fun with them, too, but just to be out there and be a part of it and help the team win is always fun.”
Jets fans have been waiting for this type of quarterback play all season long and, at one point, were chanting White’s name.
“It’s always cool,” White said about the chants. “I’m not going to sit here and give you some quarterback cliché that I’m not focusing on that, which, there are times I’m not. But towards the end of the game, I think it would be a lot cooler if they didn’t do it while we were trying to snap the ball, but no, I’m not going to complain too much about that.”
Last season, White started four games for the Jets, and there were some highs, which included throwing for 405 yards against the Bengals, and some lows, which included a four-interception game against the Bills, but according to White, those lows have helped him.
“Yeah, I think going out there, you have the experience to draw on from last year,” he said. “but every game is its own game, and you’ve got to play to such, but having the experience of being out there and having the highs, having the lows as well, you can’t just learn from the highs, you’ve got to learn from the lows, and drawing upon that and using that to help you however you can.”
Following this performance, the 27-year-old quarterback has earned another start and should be the starter the rest of the way. After his play on Sunday, you wonder why he was not the guy earlier in the season when Wilson was injured. White, who was impressive in the preseason, picked up where he left off in the preseason, and the Jets hope it continues.