ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Jets quarterback Mike White endured a ton of punishment in the team’s 20-12 loss to the Bills on Sunday.
White left the game twice due to injuries. First, Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver hit White, causing backup Joe Flacco to enter the game briefly. Then second time, White left for an extended period of time after he went to the locker room because of a rib injury he suffered after a mammoth shot from Bills linebacker Matt Milano while throwing an incompletion.
White returned, but he was taken to the hospital to be evaluated further after the game ended.
He later rejoined the team and will fly home with the rest of the team.
“He was brought in to be evaluated, x-rays all of that stuff and everything checked out good,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said about the decision to bring White back into the game after the hit from Milano. “We felt good and he wanted to come back in.”
In his third start after the Jets benched Zach Wilson three weeks ago, White completed 27 of 44 passes for 268 yards. The Bills consistently pressured White throughout the day as he was sacked three times, and Buffalo also generated a total of 21 pressures and seven quarterback hits on White.
Since being inserted as the Jets starting quarterback, White’s teammates have responded positively to him being under center. Last week on the way to Minnesota, many of his teammates wore “Mike F’N White” t-shirts on the plane. Then last week during his weekly press conference with the media, running back Michael Carter and Elijah Moore both jokingly asked White questions.
On Sunday, White might have earned a different type of respect from his teammates. The Jets were down 20-7 and on the way to a loss, but White wanted to return to the field anyway as he kept fighting to the final whistle with the team down 20-12.
“He showed that he’s a dog,” Zonovan “Bam” Knight said. “Everybody could tell that from the moment that he stepped into the huddle.
“He didn’t want to leave his team hanging. Looking at the replays on some of the hits and for him to come back and still go out there and be able to execute, it says a lot about Mike White as a player and as a leader on this team.”
Assuming White is healthy, Saleh said he would be the starting quarterback for the Jets next game against the Lions. White will almost be certain to start against the Jaguars on Dec. 22 as the Jets will have two games in 10 days.
It is looking more and more like White will be the Jets starting quarterback for the final four games of the season. At 7-6, the Jets are fighting for one of the wild-card spots in the AFC.
Gang Green entered the day as the seventh seed in the conference, one game ahead of both the Chargers and the Patriots. The Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, which is currently the longest postseason drought in the NFL.
Currently, Gang Green has lost four of its last six games and two straight. But the team is confident they can still make a run at the playoffs.
“We have been believing we are a playoff team for a very long time,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “Despite the team’s loss, despite this loss, our mindset hasn’t changed.
“Our motto hasn’t changed. We know we have two big games in 10 days. We got Detroit this coming weekend, so that’s the first step to make sure that will happen.
“It’s a tough loss, have to watch the film, critique ourselves, critique each other, get better and ready to play next Sunday.”