Mike White shines in Jets’ 2022 debut, leads New York to win over Chicago
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Mike White was more than just all right for the New York Jets.
He was absolutely terrific, delivering a performance that had the rain-drenched but fired-up fans at MetLife Stadium chanting his name throughout.
White threw three touchdown passes, including two to Garrett Wilson, in his first start since last season in place of a benched Zach Wilson and the Jets rolled over the banged-up Chicago Bears 31-10 on Sunday.
“It’s awesome,” White said. “I mean, just going out there playing football with your friends and guys you’ve been with for a couple years now.”
White sparked the Jets (7-4) to a season-high 466 yards in the rain, going 22 of 28 for 315 yards while running the offense efficiently and effectively.
White became the fifth player in NFL history to have multiple games with 300 yards passing and three TD passes in his first four career starts. He joined Patrick Mahomes, Austin Davis, Kurt Warner and Mark Rypien to accomplish the feat.
“He didn’t need to be anybody but Mike White,” coach Robert Saleh said. “He didn’t need to turn it into ‘The Greatest Show on Turf. ... He made the easy look easy, and I thought he did a really good job with that.”
Elijah Moore, who requested a trade earlier this season because of a lack of opportunities, caught his first touchdown pass of the season. Ty Johnson had a 32-yard TD run for the Jets, who bounced back from a 10-3 loss at New England.
Meanwhile, the Bears (3-9) started Trevor Siemian at quarterback for an injured Justin Fields and couldn’t do much after their first two series.
“Today was a complete team win,” White said. “Our defense did what they always do and they dominated.”
White already made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year when his jersey and game ball were displayed after his 37 completions in his debut were the most in NFL history in a player’s first start.
A fan favorite since that performance, White had to quiet the crowd that chanted, “Mike White!” at times late in the game while the offense was on the field.
“Nah, I’m not going to complain too much about that,” he said with a smile.
Added Garrett Wilson: “He got what he deserved. ... He deserved every bit of that.”
The only real intrigue for the Bears, who have lost five straight, was who would start at quarterback.
Fields was ruled out 90 minutes before kickoff with an injured left shoulder. Trevor Siemian was slated to start in his place, but injured his oblique during warmups — and Chicago announced Nathan Peterman, elevated from the practice squad Saturday, would start instead.
But both Siemian and Peterman threw on the sideline, and the Bears opted to go with Siemian after all. Siemian — who said the injury bothered him a bit — was 14 of 25 for 179 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
“Honestly, I’m more embarrassed to get an injury,” Siemian said. “You’ve got guys in there in Week 12 or 13 going through hell. And I had a non-contact thing show up.”
White marched the Jets downfield and capped the opening drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson to give New York an early 7-0 lead. It was the Jets’ first touchdown this season on an opening drive.
After Cairo Santos’ 22-yard field goal cut the deficit to 7-3, Siemian threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle.
But that was it for Chicago on offense.
“The second half wasn’t good enough for either side of the ball,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “There’s no excuses. No explanation. It just wasn’t good enough.”
After holder Braden Mann fumbled the snap on Greg Zuerlein’s potential tying 36-yard field goal, White and the offense got back into the end zone when Wilson spun and juked Kindle Vildor before racing for a 54-yard touchdown that put New York up 14-10.
With 12 seconds left before halftime and Mann wearing gloves this time, Zuerlein booted a 57-yarder through the rain — the longest field goal at home in franchise history, tying the overall mark for any game he already shared with Chandler Catanzaro.
Moore’s 22-yard TD catch and Johnson’s tackle-shedding 32-yard scoring run made it 31-10 late in the third quarter.
C.J. Mosley’s interception of Siemian with 5:04 left sealed it for the Jets, who snapped a five-game skid against the Bears.
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