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Mike White Shines in First Career Start as Jets Upset Bengals

Filling in for Zach Wilson, Mike White threw for 405 passing yards, leading New York to a 34-31 win over the first-place Bengals at MetLife Stadium.

Making the first start of his NFL career, Jets quarterback Mike White threw for 405 passing yards, leading New York to an upset over the Bengals.

Cincinnati entered play as heavy favorites at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, poised to dominate the Jets and hand New York their second straight blowout loss.

And yet, even without rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and top wideout Corey Davis, New York's offense was a force to be reckoned with, out-dueling Cincinnati in the second half and holding on in a 34-31 victory.

White was the star, tossing three touchdown passes and orchestrating New York's best performance of the season. New York played to their strengths, dominating the time of possession while out-gaining the Bengals 512 to 318.

Cincinnati hung around until the end—quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 259 yards with three scores—but a late interception proved to be the difference. 

For the first time this season, the Jets started fast on their opening drive. 

White led the offense 75 yards on 10 plays, marching down the field to take a 7-0 lead on an eight-yard rushing touchdown from Michael Carter. 

Carter wound up with a huge day on offense, rushing for 77 yards while leading his teammates with 95 yards through the air on a team-high nine catches. 

Before this week, the Jets had been outscored 44-0 in the first quarter. At the end of the first on Sunday, New York had a 7-0 lead.

White started the game 11-for-11 through the air before he threw an interception late in the opening quarter. That's the most completions before a pass hit the turf to start a game by a Jets quarterback since Chad Pennington went 14-for-14 against the Dolphins in December of 2003.

The Jets went on to allow 17 unanswered points, though. White's second (and final) interception of the day led to Cincinnati's first touchdown—a one-yard run from Joe Mixon. After punts from both sides, the Bengals finished the half with two consecutive scoring drives. 

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Rather than fading away, as many would've expected, the Jets produced one more scoring drive of their own before the half, recapturing the momentum.

After a one-handed touchdown grab from Keelan Cole was overturned on replay, Braxton Berrios hauled in an eight-yard touchdown pass, sealing the deal with some toe-drag swag on the near sideline. 

White proved in the first half that he was up for the challenge, exceeding expectations while filling in for rookie Zach Wilson. The throw to Berrios was the perfect example, staying poised in the pocket and delivering a strike under duress. 

By the end of the game, White became the first Jets quarterback in 28 games to exceed the 300-yard mark. Nobody had done that under center in green and white since Sam Darnold threw for 315 against the Raiders in 2019. White did it in three quarters, and blew past that number. 

The beginning of the second half featured more of the same in this shootout. New York and Cincinnati traded scoring drives deep into the fourth quarter. 

Even when White needed to leave the game briefly due to a head injury—with veteran Josh Johnson making his season debut off the bench for a few plays late in the third—New York was still able to kick a field goal and tie the game at 17 apiece. 

That's when the Bengals looked like they were starting to pull away. Back-to-back touchdowns gave Cincinnati a 31-20 lead with just seven minutes remaining.

But White and the Jets weren't finished yet. A 19-yard touchdown pass to Ty Johnson—with the running back tiptoeing down the sideline—made this a one-possession game. Then, defensive lineman Shaq Lawson hauled in New York's first interception of the season, deflecting a pass at the line of scrimmage to give the Jets incredible field position. 

White proceeded to deliver a go-ahead touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Kroft two plays later from 13 yards out. As if a 400-yard performance wasn't enough, White then caught a pass from wide receiver Jamison Crowder, giving New York a three-point lead with some trickeration on the two-point conversion.

Cincinnati punted with a few minutes left and White iced the game, capitalizing on a costly unnecessary roughness penalty from Bengals corner Mike Hilton.

The helmet-to-helmet collision with Johnson moved the chains on third down, forcing Cincinnati to burn all three of their timeouts and watch helplessly as White knelt in victory formation. 

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