The story of the day is Mike White. I think I speak for all fans when I say that leading up to this game, this kid was a complete mystery. None of us had any idea of what he was or could be, and probably envisioned another Luke Falk game as we braced ourselves for yet another stinkfest as the Jets took on a hot Bengals team on Halloween. Most, if not all, of us probably also spent the better part of the offseason criticizing Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh for not bringing in a true veteran quarterback to back up Zach Wilson… I know I’m guilty of that.
Well, for at least one week, we were ALL wrong.
White came out and impressed in a way that we have never seen. He only threw 8 incompletions all day on 45 attempts! He racked up 405 yards and 3 touchdowns against a good Bengals defense. The kid looked poised, competent, and controlled as he led the Jets to victory. He took shots where he could, he checked down when he had to. He executed the offense to near perfection. What can’t be overlooked or undersold is how much fight he had in him. Coming back from back-to-back tipped ball interceptions (so many young QB’s would fold after that), a late first half fumble by Crowder, and an 11-point 4th quarter deficit to lead this team the way he did was unbelievable. Mike White deserves all the credit for this incredible performance. And I am so happy that something finally bounced in the Jets direction.
1. Michael Carter was outstanding. He consistently made play after play, both in the run and pass game, and was a major reason why the Jets won this game. I don’t know if anyone else sees this, but Carter reminds me of Leon Washington. He is smaller in stature, deceptively quick, and a dual threat that consistently gets all yards available and then some. And he seems to rarely make a bad play (Oh and by the way, he’s a 4th round pick from an ACC school). Carter and Ty Johnson seem to forming a formidable running back tandem that compliment each other very well.
2. Mike LaFleur has been public enemy #1 amongst Jets fans for the first part of this season – right, wrong, or indifferent. However, credit him for this performance. He called a masterful game: pulled out the bag of tricks, improved situational play calling, and stuck to the gameplan despite being knocked down early. LaFleur called his best game as a Jet coach yesterday, and per Saleh, needs to stick in the booth moving forward.
3. I loved Elijah Moore’s involvement yesterday in every facet. His most important play was his touchdown-saving tackle on the interception. That play alone probably saved the game for the Jets.
4. The Jets defense played well yesterday despite giving up 31 points. They were put in difficult positions early, but held their own. Sheldon Rankins was a force inside making plays in the run game and tallying a huge sack, and the rest of the defensive line played great as well. CJ Mosley looked like he was out for blood yesterday and I am all for it.
5. Here are some stats from the Jets offense yesterday: 12 possessions, 34 points, 32 first downs(!), 36:20 time of possession, 10 different receivers caught passes (14 catches for RB’s), and a 9 YPA for Mike White. Whatever you did, Mr. LaFleur, keep doing it.
6. If I have one complaint from yesterday, it is this: STOP ATTEMPTING 50+ YARD FIELD GOALS. If you’re at 40 yards and in, go ahead and kick. Anything else on the opponent’s side of the field, go for it.
7. Two things that I loved yesterday were: the offensive personnel use (limited TE targets and mixed WR/RB groups) as well as the young core involvement. The Jets won on the backs of Carter, Johnson, Moore and Mims. It was great to see and something to be very excited about moving forward.
8. The Stealth Black should be the Jets’ permanent uniforms.
9. I don’t believe there is a quarterback controversy… yet. It was one week, let’s see what happens in Indy before we cross that bridge. But, if Mike White lights it up again, things could get interesting. I do believe though, that Zach Wilson will benefit a lot by taking a few games to reset and learn from how White executed this offense. I think we can pump the brakes on the Bledsoe/Brady comparisons for a bit.
10. This game is exactly what the fans want. Even if the Jets had fallen short, and ended up losing 38-34, that would have been ok. It is great to win, don’t get me wrong. Victory Monday’s feel amazing and there are so few for us that we have to enjoy them. But ultimately, having something to root for and be so invested in for 3+ hours on a Sunday afternoon is exactly what the fans want and need. Whatever happens, just be exciting and competitive… that’s all we ask.