EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Mike White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in his first NFL start, caught a 2-point conversion pass on the go-ahead score and had the fans chanting his name while leading the New York Jets to a wild 34-31 comeback victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
White, starting in place of injured rookie Zach Wilson, pulled off an improbable victory for the Jets (2-5) while going 37 of 45 — setting an NFL record for the most completions in a player’s first start. He joined Cam Newton (2011) as the only players since at least 1950 to throw for 400 or more yards in their first career start.
White overcame two early interceptions and also became the Jets’ first 400-yard passer since Vinny Testaverde on Christmas 2000, a span of 327 games. And he even left for a few plays with a neck injury.
With the Bengals (5-3) leading 31-20 in the fourth quarter, the Jets got an acrobatic touchdown by Ty Johnson, who took a short pass from White and tip-toed down the left sideline and reached over the goal line for a 19-yard score. It was initially ruled Johnson stepped out at the 2, but video review overturned the call and confirmed the touchdown.
White’s 2-point conversion pass to Keelan Cole was incomplete and New York trailed 31-26 with 4:36 left.
Shaq Lawson then came up with the Jets’ first interception of the season, deflecting Joe Burrow’s pass and snagging it to give New York the ball at the Bengals 14.
After a 1-yard run by Michael Carter, White found a wide-open Tyler Kroft in the back of the end zone to give New York a one-point lead. The Jets went for the 2-point conversion and turned to some trickery with the Jets’ twist on the Eagles’ “Philly Special.” Jamison Crowder tossed it to a wide-open White in the end zone to make it 34-31 with 3:45 left.
It all had the fans at a half-filled MetLife Stadium loudly chanting: “Mike! White!”
The Jets forced the Bengals to punt on fourth-and-19 from the 40. Cincinnati never got the ball back. On third-and-11, Johnson was stopped for no gain on a catch but Mike Hilton was called for unnecessary roughness. That gave New York the first down, and White took a knee in victory formation moments later.