NFL Week 8 grades: Jets and Cowboys both get an ‘A’ for wild wins with their backup quarterbacks


In a Halloween upset that no one saw coming, the New York Jets didn’t just put a scare into the Bengals, they took them to the graveyard and buried them. 

With Zach Wilson out, the Jets were a popular pick to get blown out this week — the oddsmakers had them pegged as a double-digit underdog — but backup quarterback Mike White had other ideas. In one of the most impressive performances ever by a QB making his first start, White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns as the Jets stunned the Bengals 34-31. 

White has been in the NFL since 2018, but he didn’t make his first start until Sunday and he definitely made the most of it. The Jets quarterback had the Bengals’ defense on its heels all day as he completed his first 11 passes. White showed off uncanny accuracy — he completed 82.2% of his passes — and the only two mistakes he made weren’t his fault as both his interceptions bounced off the receiver he was targeting. 

The backup quarterback showed off a toughness that the Jets haven’t really shown this season. After leaving the game to enter concussion protocol in the third quarter, he ended up returning to the game and he might have been even better: He completed 11 of his final 13 passes for for 146 yards and two touchdowns. 

White’s biggest throw, which ended up being the game-winner, was emblematic of his day: He stayed patient in the pocket and waited for his receiver to break open. The receiver in this case ended up being tight end Tyler Kroft, who caught a 13-yard touchdown to give the Jets the lead for good. 

White capped off the TD by CATCHING the two-point conversion on a throw from Jamison Crowder. 

Basically, there was nothing White didn’t do against the Bengals. Besides throwing and catching passes, he also made a great defensive play that might have saved the game for the Jets. After throwing an interception to Bengals safety Jessie Bates in the first quarter, it looked like Bates might return it for a TD, but as you can see below, White ran him down and forced the play back inside, which allowed Elijah Moore (the No. 8 referenced in the tweet below) to make the tackle at the Jets’ 1-yard line. 

That ended up being a huge tackle because the Bengals ended up coming away with zero points on the drive because the Jets’ defense would make a goal-line stand at the 1-yard line. 

Overall, White’s 405-yard day makes him the first QB in NFL history to hit the 400-yard mark while also throwing at least three touchdowns in his first start. He’s also just the second quarterback since 1985 to win a game in his first start after trailing by double digits with less than five minutes left to play (Steve Young is the other). 

One other thing that made White’s debut so impressive was that he did it against a Bengals defense that was surrendering just 251.3 yards per game over the past four weeks. 

The Jets might not be headed for the playoffs this year, but they’ve proven that you absolutely can’t afford to overlook them. With wins over the Bengals and Titans this season, it won’t be surprising if we see the Jets pull off a few more upsets before the end of the year.  

Alright, let’s get to the grades for every game from Week 8. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on Green Bay’s wild 24-21 win over the Cardinals that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here. 

N.Y. Jets 34-31 over CincinnatiL.A. Rams 38-22 over HoustonBuffalo 26-11 over MiamiCarolina 19-13 over AtlantaPittsburgh 15-10 over Cleveland

Steelers-Browns grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

San Francisco 33-22 over Chicago

49ers-Bears grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Philadelphia 44-6 over Detroit

Eagles-Lions grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Tennessee 34-31 (OT) over Indianapolis 

Titans-Colts grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Seattle 31-7 over JacksonvilleDenver 17-10 over WashingtonNew England 27-24 over L.A. Chargers

Patriots-Chargers grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

New Orleans 36-27 over Tampa Bay

Buccaneers-Saints grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Dallas 20-16 over Minnesota

Cowboys-Vikings grades by Jared Dubin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

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