Jets stun Cincy as QB White stars in 1st NFL start

  • Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News
  • Syracuse University graduate

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Unheralded quarterback Mike White, making his first NFL start, rallied the New York Jets to a stunning upset over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, throwing three touchdown passes for 405 yards in a 34-31 victory.

Replacing the injured Zach Wilson, White, a former practice-squad player who has been cut five times, rallied the Jets from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter. He threw scoring passes to running back Ty Johnson (19 yards) and tight end Tyler Kroft (13 yards) on two straight possessions.

Then came the capper: White caught the pass on the 2-point conversion, a “Philly Special” play in which wide receiver Jamison Crowder made the throw. The Jets scored on five straight possessions before running out the clock.

The crowd chanted White’s name after one of the most improbable Jets wins in a long time. The Jets (2-5) entered the game as an 11.5-point underdog — their third-largest upset win over the past 40 seasons. They outplayed the Bengals (5-3) most of the game, but fell behind, 31-20, early in the fourth quarter.

White, a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2018, got the starting nod because Wilson sprained his right knee in last week’s 54-13 loss to the New England Patriots. Wilson is expected to miss two to four weeks. The Jets acquired veteran Joe Flacco in a trade on Monday, but he was inactive for the game because he wasn’t able to practice until Friday.

Flacco said he came to the Jets with the intention of playing during Wilson’s rehab time. That plan probably was altered by White’s sensational game. In a span of seven days, the Jets went from one of their worst losses ever to one of their best.

White energized the previously moribund offense, which finished with 512 total yards. His passed for the second-most yards since 1950 for an NFL quarterback in his first start. Cam Newton had 422 yards in 2011 for the Carolina Panthers.

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