SEATTLE — Mike White had no interest in talking about the physical pain he must have felt on Sunday as he played through a rib injury. This Jets calamity was his to shoulder.
“Listen, I was cleared to play by the doctors,” White said following Sunday’s 23-6 defeat to the Seahawks that eliminated the Jets from playoff contention. “The guys in that locker room deserve a certain standard and I knew what I was signing up for. I was cleared by the doctors. I practiced all week. Basically what I’m saying is there’s a standard that those guys deserve and I did not live up to that standard or play to that standard today.”
When White was cleared to play leading into the game, it injected optimism into the Jets, who needed to win out and hope that the Patriots lost one of their final two games in order to make the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The offense had been inept and disorganized with Zach Wilson at the helm against Jacksonville the week before and White, who had led the Jets to their last win all the way back on Nov. 27, was their best hope.
But White, injury or not, came out and played nearly as poorly as Wilson did the week before. His final stat line read 23 of 46 for 240 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. The Jets got two field goals early in the game and never sniffed the end zone again, with White’s second interception to Mike Jackson serving as the backbreaker.
“It stings, it’s tough, it’s gut-wrenching,” White said. “It’s all of the above.”
White has not lost any of his popularity in the Jets’ locker room, where the rest of the offense promptly took just as much responsibility for a performance in which the team failed to crack 300 yards.
“Everybody’s gonna blame the quarterback no matter what, everybody’s gonna point the fingers at the quarterback no matter what. That’s what’s been going on the entire year,” tight end C.J. Uzomah said. “It’s not a one-person thing. It’s the entire team. We have not executed. We haven’t done what we needed to do. Of course he’s gonna do that, he’s the quarterback, he’s gonna put that on himself but it’s not on him. It’s on us. We haven’t, the past however many games, we haven’t played well.”
On the list of recriminations, though, White’s future could be at the top of the list. If the Jets had gotten into the postseason, it likely would have put White in position to be the starter next season. Now, who knows what general manager Joe Douglas will do, but this performance will surely weigh on his decision.
“It’s shocking,” White said of the failure to score a touchdown. “It’s not what you want to do as an offense.”
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