3 Takeaways from Jets' Week 12 Win vs. Bears

Jake RillNovember 28, 2022

3 Takeaways from Jets' Week 12 Win vs. Bears

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    New York Jets running back Ty Johnson (25) and quarterback Mike White (5) celebrate after a touchdown by Johnson against the Chicago Bears during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    AP Photo/John Minchillo

    A quarterback change produced the exact type of spark the New York Jets were looking for. They benched struggling second-year QB Zach Wilson in favor of Mike White, and the swap generated immediate positive results.

    White led the Jets to a 31-10 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. The 27-year-old quarterback completed 22 of his 28 pass attempts, throwing for 315 yards and three touchdowns in a commanding victory.

    New York compiled 466 total yards of offense and took the lead for good on White's 54-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson with 4 minutes and 57 seconds to go in the second quarter that made it 14-10. The Jets finished with 24 unanswered points, holding the Bears scoreless for the final 44:20.

    Here are three takeaways from New York's Week 12 win.

White Deserves to Be the Starting QB Moving Forward

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    New York Jets quarterback Mike White (5) passes against the Chicago Bears during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    AP Photo/Seth Wenig

    Even if Wilson can still become the Jets' franchise quarterback down the line, White gives them the best chance to win games right now. The offense looked like a completely different unit Sunday, although it's worth noting that the performance came against the struggling Bears.

    Still, White demonstrated better chemistry with New York's young playmakers in the receiving corps. Wilson had five catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns, while Elijah Moore had two receptions for 64 yards and a TD (his first of the year). Both were struggling to get involved with Wilson under center.

    Over four games with the Jets in the 2021 season (his first taste of NFL action), White performed quite well at times. In fact, he's now the fifth player in NFL history to have multiple games with 300 passing yards and three passing touchdowns within his first four career starts, according to Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press. The others are Patrick Mahomes, Austin Davis, Kurt Warner and Mark Rypien.

    “He didn’t need to be anybody but Mike White,” New York head coach Robert Saleh said, per Waszak. “He didn’t need to turn it into 'The Greatest Show on Turf.' ... He made the easy look easy, and I thought he did a really good job with that.”

    And White did it well enough that he should continue to be the starter moving forward.

Knight Emerged as a Solid Option out of Backfield

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    New York Jets running back Zonovan Knight (27) carries the ball against the Chicago Bears during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    AP Photo/Seth Wenig

    It was a fairly big surprise to see running back James Robinson featured among the Jets' list of inactive players Sunday. The 24-year-old, who came over from the Jacksonville Jaguars in a trade last month, is healthy, but New York opted to make rookie RB Zonovan Knight active instead.

    Knight went on to have a big role in the offense after starting running back Michael Carter exited the game with an ankle sprain in the second half. Knight led the team with 14 carries for 69 yards, while Ty Johnson had five carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.

    Robinson had been struggling since coming to New York, as he had 25 carries for 75 yards and only one receiving touchdown through his first three games after the trade. Knight (who also had three catches for 34 yards Sunday) showed that he could bring a spark to the Jets' rushing attack, which has been in need of increased production since rookie Breece Hall suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 7.

    "Felt like over the past few weeks there's been a lot of meat [left] on the bone in the run game, and we felt like if we could just get vertical and get rolling," Saleh told reporters after the game. "With James, he's still learning our system, there are still things that he's getting comfortable with, so no one has seen the last of him. But I just thought this would be an opportunity just to get a change of pace."

    No matter what happens with Carter's health and Robinson's progression, Knight proved that he should likely have a role in the Jets' backfield mix the rest of the way.

The Jets Continue to Keep Pace in Tight AFC East

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    New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh congratulates New York Jets running back Ty Johnson (25) after Johnson scored a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
    AP Photo/John Minchillo

    Through 12 weeks of the regular season, the Jets are in a playoff spot. They're currently in the No. 7 seed in the AFC, which receives the third and final wild-card berth. New York also remains right in the thick of the competitive AFC East race.

    The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills each won this week to improve to 8-3, but the Jets are only a game back at 7-4. New York distanced itself a bit from the New England Patriots, who lost and fell to 6-5.

    The Jets have quite a challenging schedule from here, though. They have road matchups against the Minnesota Vikings and the Bills over the next two weeks. Then, they'll play the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars at home in Weeks 15 and 16. But they close out the regular season with road games against the Seattle Seahawks and the Dolphins.

    Of course, not many expected New York to be in this position this year, so it's impressive that the team has fared so well to this point. If the Jets (who have won six of their past eight) can keep building momentum, perhaps they can get into the playoffs for the first time since the 2010 season and end the longest active postseason drought in the NFL.

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