Over the last few weeks, backup quarterback Mike White has invigorated this Jets team with magical and historic performances that won't soon be forgotten.
In what could be his final opportunity to start in green and white, however, White produced an outing that he would like to wipe from his memory.
White threw four interceptions against the Bills on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, watching helplessly on the sidelines as Buffalo's offense poured it on all afternoon.
The final whistle served a symbol of mercy. Gang Green lost 45-17, their latest unwatchable and uninspiring loss.
If you've followed the Jets this year, you're all too familiar with slow starts and sloppy performances. Sunday was no different, beginning in the first half.
New York's offense came out flat, going three-and-out on the first drive of the game. Then, Mike White threw an ill-advised interception, his first of many.
With Buffalo scoring on their first two drives of the game, Gang Green was down 10-0 as fans were still finding their seats. New York finally got on the board later in the second quarter, but any momentum they established had vanished completely before halftime.
Quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills responded to the field goal promptly with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that lasted just one minute. Rather than playing strong defense in a two-minute drill, the Jets allowed a 57-yard gain on a pretty pitch and catch to Stefon Diggs down the sideline, setting up a Diggs touchdown moments later.
With some time remaining before the conclusion of the first half, White pushed the ball down the field and found Corey Davis for his first catch of the afternoon. Great, right? Puts the Jets in field goal range with a chance to cut the deficit to a two-score game. Wrong. Davis fumbled as he was brought to the ground.
New York couldn't shake the turnover bug in the second half either. While Buffalo's explosive offense continued to dominate—scoring on their first three drives after halftime—White threw interceptions on the Jets' first three drives in the third quarter.
The first pick from White's second half interception barrage was a questionable decision, a deep ball chucked into double coverage down the field. Rather than finding Elijah Moore over the top, White hit Tre'Davious White in stride for the easiest interception he'll have all year.
For a quarterback that excelled these last few weeks dinking and dunking, showing rookie Zach Wilson what it's like to take what the defense gives you, White looked more like Wilson in the second half. Perhaps the desperation of another humiliating loss got to the 26-year-old's head. Or, simply put, the Bills were just too good on that side of the ball.
The Jets did secure their first interception in the secondary of the season in this game—safety Sharrod Neasman hauled in a pick from a deflection in the third quarter—but the turnover margin was unsurprisingly not in New York's favor.
Buffalo entered play Sunday leading the league with a plus-11 differential. Meanwhile, New York was last in the league with a minus-12 differential. The gap between the best and worst in the league got even bigger on Sunday.
Speaking of the worst in football, the Jets' defense continued to struggle on Sunday. New York has now allowed 30-plus points in each of their last four games, a feat that's been accomplished just four other times in franchise history.
Buffalo wound up with 489 total yards in their blowout victory, the seventh game in a row the Jets have given up 318-plus yards. The Bills rushed for 139 (with four touchdowns on the ground) while Allen racked up 366 yards through the air.
The bottom line is that White had provided hope since coming off the bench to replace an injured Wilson a few weeks ago. For a player that was making his NFL debut after years on the sidelines, bouncing from active rosters to practice squads, White showed that New York's offense has the potential for competence, sometimes even upset victories. He was much more than just a feel-good story during this brief run.
But all good things come to an end. This reality check stings, and likely signals the end of White's opportunity, barring any setbacks in Wilson's recovery.
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