NY Jets: 3 quick takeaways from Week 8 win over the Cincinnati Bengals

NY Jets, Mike White
NY Jets, Mike White / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Mike White Mania has begun as the NY Jets shocked the Cincinnati Bengals by a final score of 34-31 to improve to 2-5.

Mike Check

Despite being without starting quarterback Zach Wilson and No. 1 wide receiver Corey Davis, the Jets’ offense exploded to the tune of 512 total yards and their most points scored since 2019.

Not only that, but today marked the first time a Jets QB has thrown for 400+ yards since Vinny Testaverde in 2000.

“I have an immense amount of faith in myself and I think I can go out there and execute the offense and move the offense,” White said after the game. “Today just was an affirmation for it.”

To put into words what the 26-year-old did today would almost be folly as he not only commissioned an offense that took it to the top-ranked Bengals defense, but he caught a critical two-point conversion pass that put the Jets up 34-31.

All of that with the backdrop of this being his first-ever NFL start too.

A change of scenery for Mike LaFleur

Today also marked the first time offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur called the game from the booth rather than the field. Whether it was the change of scenery, a new game plan, or a mixture of the two, the first-year coordinator did an excellent job of calling plays and making White comfortable.

“The offense was outstanding,” head coach Robert Saleh said in his postgame press conference. “A lot of opportunities, moved the ball on a really good defense, created explosive plays, it was awesome.”

It remains to be seen whether or not this change will be permanent once Wilson returns, but if calling plays from the booth makes this much of a difference for LaFleur, then it is hard to imagine Gang Green deterring away from it.

Now, the next challenge will be taking this offensive strategy and applying it to the team’s second overall pick.

To penalty or not to penalty?

As impressive as this win was, it did not come without its share of controversy as the Jets were the benefactors of a crucial helmet-to-helmet call on third down with two minutes left. With the penalty, Gang Green was awarded the first down and they would go on to ice the game.

“There’s going to be days where we look like we should be a playoff team contending for a Super Bowl championship and there’s going to be days we don’t look like we belong on a football field,” Saleh said. “That’s youth.”

While many will argue the penalty should not have been called, it should not take away from the fact the Jets were the better team in this game.

Whether it was White going 37-45 for 405 yards and three touchdowns for a QB rating of 107.9, Michael Carter fighting for every one of his 172 yards, or the defense doing a stellar job containing the duo of Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, Gang Green earned this victory.

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One dubious call should not take away from that.