New York Jets stun Cincinnati Bengals behind QB Mike White's huge game in first NFL start

Mike White throws a TD pass from Ty Johnson to Mike White, who then converts the two-point conversion to give the Jets a three-point lead against the Bengals. (0:18).
EAST RUTHERFORD (N.J.) -- Mike White, his first NFL start, delivered one of the most unlikely passing performances in NFL History, was chantable by the home crowd, and led the New York Jets' stunning 34-31 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The No. 2 draft pick, Zach Wilson, was injured and White took his place. White, the No. 2 draft pick, passed for three touchdowns while rushing for 405 yards. This was the Jets' first 400 yard passing day since 2000. It is also the most first-time passer since Cam Newton's 422 yards in 2011 for the Carolina Panthers.

Robert Saleh, White's coach, might have caused a future quarterback controversy at the end of this storybook afternoon. Saleh was open to the possibility that White might be the Jets' long-term solution. Wilson is likely to miss at most one more game due to a sprained leg. Saleh didn't make a commitment to Wilson.

"We'll continue to go day-today, but everything is possible," Saleh said. Saleh stated that anything is possible.

Saleh said, "It all goes back to that whole theory. The difference between player A or player Z is opportunity. Reps." This is what the league is. This is professional sports. This is why guys come out of nowhere. Someone gets an opportunity. Mike uses his opportunity to make the most of it. It's up to him to seize the opportunity.

Most Passing Yards in the 1st NFL Start Mike White’s 405 yards was second-most by a quarterback during his first NFL start. White is also the Jets' first quarterback to throw for 400 yards, a feat that Vinny Testaverde achieved in 2000. Quarterback Yards Cam Newton (2011) 422 Mike White, 2021 405 Kevin Kolb, 2009 391, Vinny Testaverde, 1988 369 -- ESPN Stats & Information

Saleh stated that White will play on Thursday against the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets (2-5) will need to make a big decision if he plays well.

White, 26, a former Dallas Cowboys draft choice who was cut five times during his NFL career, helped the Jets rally from an 11 point deficit in the fourth quarter. They were 11.5 points underdogs when they entered the game, making it their third largest upset win in the past 40 seasons.

White completed 37 out of 45 passes by throwing all short passes. White showed great poise after he was injured in his neck and two interceptions in the first half.

White's first 11 passes were completed by White and he immediately energized the Jets' once sluggish offense. The crowd began chanting "Mike White!" by the end of the second quarter. Mike White! He couldn't believe what he was hearing.

He said, "At the beginning, I had to kinda listen again." "I was like, "Are they chanting your name?" It was quite cool."

White, down 31-20, threw two scoring passes to Ty Johnson (19 yards) & Tyler Kroft (13.5 yards) on the same possession. Defensive end Shaq Lawson was the one to set up the touchdown. This was the team's ninth interception.

Kroft's touchdown was the final play. The two-point play ended with the capper. The Jets executed their "Philly Special" with White passing the ball to Jamison Crowder, wide receiver, and Crowder catching the pass in the end zone.

White smiled and said, "The things that went through me in those two seconds were: 'Don’t drop it.’"

The defense of the Jets was beaten last week by the New England Patriots 54-13, but it kept the 34-31 lead.

Johnson described White as a "savage", a "dog", an "animal" after he spent last season with the Jets' practice squad.

Mike LaFleur was the beleaguered offensive coordinator. His unit scored in the quarter's first quarter for the very first time. He decided to adopt a pass-happy strategy. This was unusual considering White's lack experience. It worked.

White, who played more than two quarters last week, said that Mike came to me Saturday and called me. He thought that with a backup starting, they would be tight in the run game. They were caught off guard when they decided to let it go early.

White didn't move the ball downfield. According to ESPN Stats & Information, none of White's 45 attempts went more than 15 yards. He still managed to put up impressive numbers. Crowder (9 for 84) and Michael Carter (9 for 95 yards respectively) ran backs. Wilson's 405 yard total was the second-most since 1950 for a first-time starter.

Carter stated that White was "surprised by what he did," referring to Carter, who missed some plays due to a stiff neck.

Saleh described White as "awesome" & "fantastic." The Jets will now be more patient with Wilson's injury. Saleh declined to comment, but said it would be an everyday thing. White stated that he is not thinking about his future.

White stated that he did a good job of making it less than it was. "The coaches' faith and team's faith in my abilities helped me a lot." "There was not a flinch."