In the world of professional sports, there are only two things that matter – wins and losses. You either win a game or lose a game (yes-there’s the draw in soccer but when games really count they play until a winner emerges.) For the New York Jets, losing to the Minnesota Vikings yesterday was not a “moral victory” but a loss. You can’t claim anything when you are on the short side of a 27-22 final score and emerging leaders such as Mike White know it and live up to the loss.
No moral victories on the scoreboard.
As the “backup” quarterback, Mike White continues to make a name for himself and put forth a legitimate argument that he should be the “starting” QB to finish out the season. In five starts spreading over two seasons, White has thrown for over three hundred yards in three of those starts; Zach Wilson has exactly one three hundred-plus yard game in 20 starts.
Some may confuse yesterday’s passing onslaught to be some sort of “Air Raid” version as White completed 31 passes out of 57 attempts for 369 yards including hitting WR Garrett Wilson for 162 of those yards. However, the passing yardage was essentially irrelevant as the Jets were only one for six in “red zone” opportunities meaning that scoring chances were largely squandered. To add to the misery index, the Jets could only convert on third down only 25% of the time on Sunday ( two for eight overall.)
Kicker Greg Zuerlein kept the Jets in this game by adding three field goals to keep this game close in the second half as the Jets went to halftime with a 20-6 deficit to the Vikings. It should be noted that the Minnesota Vikings are one of the best teams in the NFL right now so this game was never going to be an easy win for the Jets from the onset. The vaunted Jets’ defense gave way to the Vikings offensive prowess and allowed 20 points in the first half but held the Vikings to only one touchdown in the second half.
The Jets squandered multiple scoring opportunities late in this game and with 1:46 left in the fourth quarter Mike White tried to connect with Braxton Berrios on a fourth and goal from the Vikings’ one yard line but failed. The Jets did get another late scoring chance by getting the ball back and with 1:19 left on the clock White was intercepted while trying to throw to Corey Davis.
The Jets as an organization under the leadership of MIke White is growing and no excuses or rationalizations were offered for this loss. This team is rallying under its new starting QB and head coach Robert Saleh needs to keep White at the helm for the rest of the season. The Jets have an equally tough game ahead this week with the Buffalo Bills and they’ll need the calming effect that White offers calling plays this Sunday.
In fact, all of the remaining December and January games are meaningful for the Jets as they are in the thick of a possible playoff hunt. There are no more “gimme” games left and even with Detroit and Jacksonville on the remaining schedule, the Jets need to play every Sunday like their season depends on it because at this point every game matters.