Quarterback Play in Week 8 Shows the Value of Having a Quality NFL Backup

The Seahawks, Saints, Jets and Cowboys all won with their second-stringers under center on Sunday

New York Jets quarterback Mike White throws a pass in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 31, 2021
New York Jets quarterback Mike White throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty

A week after being thrust into action against the Patriots after starting quarterback Zach Wilson was knocked out with an injury, Mike White got the start for New York and passed for more than 400 yards against the Bengals in an upset win for the Jets.

White, who is in his fourth NFL season but hadn’t thrown a pass in a regular-season game prior to taking the field against New England, tossed three touchdowns in the win against Cincinnati and also caught a 2-point conversion pass. Based on his performance, the 26-year-old will probably keep starting for the Jets over recently acquired Joe Flacco.

Joining Cam Newton as the only player since at least 1950 to throw for 400 or more yards in his first career start, White was just one of several NFL backup quarterbacks who played well on Sunday as the Seahawks (Geno Smith), Saints (Trevor Siemian) and Cowboys (Cooper Rush) all won with their second-stringers under center.

Filling in after starter Jameis Winston was lost due to a “significant” injury, Siemian led the Saints on five scoring drives that produced two touchdowns and three field goals as New Orleans upset the Bucs. Starting for Dak Prescott, Rush passed for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns as Dallas notched a 20-16 victory over the Vikings on Sunday Night Football in Minnesota. And, starting once again in place of Russell Wilson, Smith completed his first 14 pass attempts and accounted for three touchdowns as Seattle destroyed Jacksonville.

By season’s end, it is likely that White, Smith, Siemian and Rush will all be back on the bench, but they all showed their value in Week 8 and demonstrated just how important it is to have a quality backup option at the most important position in sports.

Derrick Henry isn’t a quarterback, but the Tennessee Titans are going to need to find a way to replace him with a suitable backup after losing the league’s leading rusher to a potentially season-ending injury. In reality, there’s no real way for the Titans to replace the NFL’s most-dominant runner, but Tennessee (6-2) will have to try and could attempt to trade for Melvin Gordon, Marlon Mack or David Johnson. Free agent Adrian Peterson is also set to work out for the team, NFL Network reported Monday.

While they’re at it, the Titans would probably be smart to get a quality backup behind starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill as Tennessee currently just has former seventh-round pick Logan Woodside on the roster.

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