Mike White and the Jets did the impossible and defeated a strong Bengals squad at home Sunday.
Break out the Paul Rudd “Hot Ones” meme.
Because who would’ve thought?
Not me…that’s for sure.
On Sunday afternoon in front of the Florham Park faithful at MetLife Stadium, backup Jets quarterback Mike White notched the start in the absence of Zach Wilson. The rookie signal-caller was sidelined due to a PCL sprain suffered in Week 7.
It was the most significant assignment of White’s career thus far — needing to lead a struggling, then-1-5 Jets team against a Bengals defense that was allowing fewer than 20 points per game entering the matchup.
Not to mention, White wasn’t going to have No. 1 wide receiver Corey Davis due to a hip flexor injury. Left tackle Mekhi Becton is obviously also still on injured reserve.
And erasing all doubters, including myself, White put together a monster game in his inaugural start at the professional level and ultimately led a fourth-quarter comeback to notch the enormous victory.
Gang Green was down 31-20 at one point in the final quarter — but that’s when New York turned on the Jets (no pun intended, although that was a little corny of me).
A 19-yard touchdown pass from White to running back Ty Johnson was followed by a failed two-point conversion but then an interception from defensive end Shaq Lawson on the subsequent drive.
The Jets thus were in business at the Bengals 14-yard line down 31-26. Two plays later, they were in the end zone. A 13-yard strike from White to a wide-open Tyler Kroft gave the Jets the one-point lead.
Then, like another backup quarterback did in the Super Bowl a few years back, White was on the receiving end of a Philly Special. The two-point conversion was successful and East Rutherford erupted — White was on the verge of becoming a hero.
Thanks to a strong late-game defensive performance from New York along with the offense’s ability to run out the clock, White earned the first and biggest victory of his career. When the clock hit triple zero, the score stood at 34-31 Jets, with White securing the heart of every Gang Green fan across the world.
By game’s end, White had thrown for 405 yards and three touchdowns on 37-of-45 passing. He did throw a pair of early-game interceptions, but 405 yards are 405 yards, three touchdowns are three touchdowns, and of course, a win is a win.
The Jets have now won two games on the year, both of which have been against solid opponents. New York defeated the Titans back in Week 4, and now Tennessee is shaping up to be one of the better squads in the NFL.
Both the Titans and Bengals are looking to be AFC playoff ballclubs — the fact the Jets were able to oust either is a great accomplishment for a young team with a rookie head coach in Robert Saleh.
And you can, at least partly, thank Mike White for that — he was fantastic for New York in Week 8.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY