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The big story heading into Thursday’s matchup was the emergence of New York’s new hotness in backup QB Mike White. In his first NFL start, White threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns at home to upset the high-flying Cincinnati Bengals. Starting QB Zach Wilson was sidelined with a knee injury, and the Jets named White their starter in Week 9 on a short week and on the road.
This game could be as much about the birth of White as the rebirth of QB Carson Wentz in his new home in Indianapolis. Aside from two bad turnovers, Wentz played well in their heartbreaking overtime loss to the Titans. Sitting at 3-5 heading into TNF, the Colts are second in their division to Tennessee who just lost Derrick Henry for the season.
Wentz is facing an interesting future with the Colts this season. Part of his trade from the Eagles was a provisional first-round pick if Wentz plays 70% of the snaps and makes the playoffs, or plays 75% of the snaps if they miss the playoffs. His future starting status could rely on whether or not he can prove to the Colts he is the quarterback of the future, or if he is just a transitional player to keep the position warm until the Colts can take a quarterback in the first round.
White’s Magic Short-Lived but Johnson Nearly Closes It Out
White was looking to keep the fire roaring on Thursday night, but he was injured in the first quarter. Before the injury, he completed seven passes on 11 attempts for 95 yards and a touchdown, which is rather impressive. He looked to be on track to keep up the pace he had set against the Bengals, but he could not get back into the game.
We saw a hint of Josh Johnson last week when White missed a handful of plays. Johnson stepped in for White and both the offense and defense sputtered. The Colts put three touchdowns on the board and it was 10-28 in favor of Indianapolis heading into halftime.
They added another two touchdowns in the third quarter, but the Jets started to show some signs of life. Elijah Moore scored his second touchdown and Johnson found both Ryan Griffin and Ty Johnson for additional scores. Down 30-45, New York was on a run to score again with under a minute to play, but Johnson’s pass was tipped and the Colts intercepted it to end the game.
We all marveled at White’s ability to throw for over 400 yards last week. Combined with White’s first-quarter performance, he and Johnson put up 398 yards, four touchdowns, and only one interception that happened at the very end of the game.
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Wentz Puts Up Great Numbers and Protects the Football
The Colts picked themselves up after Sunday’s loss to the Titans and hit the ground running. Literally.
The Jets are surprisingly stout against quarterbacks and receivers, despite their poor record. They are tied for the second-fewest passing touchdowns allowed by a quarterback at nine and are ranked 13th against the position. They are ranked fifth against wide receivers, allowing the seventh-fewest yards (1041), are tied at third-fewest touchdowns (5) and have allowed the fewest receptions to wide receivers in the NFL (79).
Naturally, that meant the Colts would rely on their powerhouse sophomore, Jonathan Taylor, and veteran pass-catching back, Nyheim Hines. It only makes sense that Indianapolis would put the ball in the hands of their running backs, giving Wentz a bit of breathing room.
It doesn’t just work against a defense that is good at defending the pass. It just plain works for the Colts. In their four wins, Wentz averages 27 attempts, has a 9-0 TD/INT ratio, one turnover, and six sacks. When the scheme puts the ball in his hands too much, they lose. In their five losses this season, Wentz averaged 38.4 attempts that resulted in eight passing touchdowns, three interceptions, five turnovers, and a whopping 11 sacks.
Wentz finished the game with 22 passes on 30 attempts for 272 yards, three touchdowns, and 24.18 points. Most importantly, he did not turn the ball over. If the Colts want to stay in the hunt for the Wild Card, they need to put the ball in the hands of their running backs more often.
Wentz wasn’t the only quarterback fantasy winner from Thursday night’s matchup. In three quarters, Johnson racked up 317 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception to total 24.48 points. Unfortunately, he was likely not in anyone’s lineup unless you went really deep on an array of DFS lineups.
Taylor had himself a night. On 19 carries, he rushed for 172 yards and two yards and tacked on two receptions for 28 yards and 34 points in PPR. Congratulations if you have him on your squad and good luck if you are going up against him.
Hines also had a great outing for fantasy with 74 yards and a rushing touchdown as well as four receptions for 34 yards. He also logged the longest run of his career.
The Jets running backs had a lot of carries, but the Colts' defense is stingy when it comes to fantasy points allowed to the position. Michael Carter had 13 carries for 49 yards and one reception for 37 yards that resulted in under ten points. Ty Johnson was slightly more productive with 21 rushing yards and one reception for 37 yards and a touchdown for 12.10 points.
The big surprise of the night was Moore, who blew up with both White and Johnson at the helm. He scored two touchdowns on 84 yards and seven receptions for 27.4 points. Colts WR Michael Pittman stepped up once again, even against a tough defense, with five receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown for 17.4 points.
We can’t forget about the tight ends who both had touchdowns on either side of the ball. The Jets’ Ryan Griffin had four receptions for 28 yards and a TD while Jack Doyle scored a touchdown on one reception for one yard.
Quick Hits/Injury Updates/COVID-19
Packers Aaron Rodgers is out for this Sunday’s matchup against the Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19. He will be quarantined for ten days due to his unvaccinated status. Davante Adams was taken off of the COVID-19 list ahead of this weekend. … Odell Beckham Jr. was excused from practice for a second day for “personal reasons” and some believe he already played his last snaps as a Brown. … Cardinals are dealing with injuries to A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins. Their status should be monitored. … CeeDee Lamb sprained his ankle and did not practice on Thursday. … Eagles WR Jalen Reagor was back at practice after an ankle injury. … James Robinson did not practice on Thursday with a heel injury. … Saquon Barkley should play after negative tests barring his ankle injury.