On a rainy afternoon in North New Jersey, the New York Jets got back on track by defeating the Chicago Bears 31-10 in Week 12.
In a battle of backup quarterbacks, Mike White got the better of Trevor Siemian, and by a lot. White completed 22-of-28 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns. The first two scores each went to rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson, giving him two more scores from White in this game than he had in seven games with Zach Wilson under center. White also found second-year receiver Elijah Moore for a touchdown, his first score since Week 13 of last season.
The Jets also got a lift from rookie running back Zonovan Knight, who played much more than expected after Michael Carter injured his ankle and James Robinson was a surprise inactive. White ran 14 times for 69 yards, and added three catches for 34 additional yards in the first NFL action of his career.
Siemian, who reportedly injured his oblique during pregame warmups and was rumored to not be starting, got off to a nice start to the game by completing 8-of-11 passes for 127 yards and a score prior to halftime. He couldn't get much going in the second half, though, and the Jets' defensive front repeatedly had him under siege. He finished just 6 of 14 for 52 yards and an interception in the second half.
Here are a few key takeaways from the Jets' win over the Bears.
Why the Jets won
Mike White played the best game any Jets quarterback has played this season, and perhaps in quite some time. He completed 22-of-28 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns, and was not intercepted. That was good for a 149.3 passer rating, the best for any Jets quarterback since Geno Smith registered a perfect 158.3 rating back in 2014. White connected with 10 different receivers, and got both Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore in the end zone. He calmly navigated the pocket and spread the ball around to the backs and tight ends, as well as the wideouts. He was in complete control of the game from the jump.
Why the Bears lost
Their defense was torn to pieces by Mike White, Garrett Wilson and the rest of the Jets offense. Also, their own offense lacked the ability to create any explosive plays without Justin Fields. Oh, and injuries. Eddie Jackson and Darnell Mooney each left the game with injuries. They were pretty much completely overmatched on both sides of the ball for most of the afternoon. David Montgomery did all he could to break a bunch of tackles and create yards on his own, but it wasn't nearly enough.
With the Jets trailing 10-7 late in the second quarter, White dropped back to pass on first-and-10 from his own 46-yard line. After faking a handoff to rookie Zonovan Knight, White found Garrett Wilson streaking across the field on a crossing route. It looked like it would turn into a nice gain, but Bears safety Eddie Jackson collapsed to the ground due to an injury, and it gave Wilson the opportunity to cut back across the grain. When he did, there was a whole lot of room to run:
Wilson turned the play into a 54-yard touchdown, giving the Jets a lead they would never relinquish.
With the Jets nursing a three-score lead late in the game, Chicago had a chance to make things mildly interesting. C.J. Mosley took that chance away with a diving interception of Siemian, robbing Cole Kmet of a potential catch for a score.
The Jets simply ran the clock out from there.
The Jets improved here to 7-4, keeping pace with the surprisingly competitive AFC East. Next up is a trip to Minnesota to take on the Vikings, who bounced back on Thanksgiving to defeat the Patriots. Chicago drops to 3-9 after its fifth consecutive loss. The Bears host the division rival Green Bay Packers next week before taking a bye in Week 14. Fields should be able to play next week, given that he was a game-time decision for this contest, but the Bears could also elect to hold him out and let him rest for two more weeks before playing again, given that their chances of making the playoffs are pretty much non-existent at this point.