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Mike White throws four interceptions as Jets are routed by Bills

Mike White of the Jets reacts after he

Mike White of the Jets reacts after he was hit late during the fourth quarter by the Bills at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The clock struck midnight on Mike White.

The unheralded quarterback’s Cinderella story all but ended Sunday at MetLife Stadium, where it began just two weeks earlier.

White had an awful performance on a day when he and the Jets needed a really good one. He threw four interceptions — three in the third quarter — in the Jets’ embarrassing 45-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The Jets (2-7) were in this game, down only 10-3 late in the first half, but the defense turned dismal and White continued to force throws. With 21 minutes left in the game, the Jets trailed 38-3.

"I think I let the score dictate my decision-making," White said. "That can’t happen as a quarterback."

Had he played well, he almost certainly would have started next Sunday. Now, if Zach Wilson’s knee is healthy, he’s likely to start against the Dolphins.

The last time White played here, he had an unbelievable game in his first NFL start. He threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns and heard his name chanted as the Jets upset the Bengals.

On Sunday, there were no chants. There also was no defense being played by the Jets and there no longer is a quarterback controversy.

"There’s a lot of passionate and frustrated guys in the locker room right now," White said.

The way White had been moving the offense, Robert Saleh left open the possibility that the former backup would remain the starter after Wilson was healthy. If White had played well against the Bills’ top-ranked defense, he almost certainly would be starting against Miami.

Wilson said Thursday that his sprained right knee wasn’t 100%, but he went through practice fully on Friday and had a workout before the game.

"He’s still dealing with stuff," Saleh said of the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft. "We worked him out pretty hard this morning. We’ll see how that went. He’s getting better every day. We’ll see where he’s at from an injury standpoint before we make any decisions."

The decision appears to be easy: It’s Wilson’s job when he’s ready.

White finished 24-for-44 for 251 yards and no touchdowns. He left in the fourth quarter after getting the wind knocked out of him on a sack. Joe Flacco replaced him and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Moore late in the fourth quarter.

Michael Carter scored the Jets’ first touchdown on a 1-yard run earlier in the quarter. Corey Davis, who missed the previous two games with a hip injury, had five grabs for 93 yards, but he fumbled late in the first half when the Jets were driving.

Josh Allen was 21-for-28 for 366 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Bills (6-3), who scored four rushing touchdowns. Stefon Diggs caught eight passes for 162 yards and a touchdown.

It was the third time in four games that the Jets’ defense played dreadfully. They gave up 54 points three weeks ago in New England and 45 points on Nov. 4 in Indianapolis. The defense promised this game would be different. It wasn’t.

Allowing at least 45 points three times in a four-game span (and 31 in the other game) is unexpected from a Saleh-coached defense.

"Our system prides itself on being able to get better as the year goes on," Saleh said. "Clearly it’s not happening."

After the Jets opened the game with a three-and-out, Allen marched Buffalo 58 yards on five plays. He hit Matt Brieda for a 15-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 just 3:45 into the game.

On the Jets’ next series, White was hit while throwing a pass and was intercepted by Taron Johnson. The Bills took over at the Jets’ 43, and Tyler Bass’ 29-yard field goal made it 10-0.

The Jets finally got on the board on a 48-yard field goal by Matt Ammendola with 1:53 left in the half, but the Bills needed only one minute to get in the end zone.

Allen connected with Diggs for a 57-yard gain to the Jets’ 23. Four plays later, Allen and Diggs hooked up again for a 12-yard touchdown to put Buffalo up 17-3.

"I think we’ve played overall about as bad as can possibly play at times," defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said.

The Jets got into Buffalo territory on a 28-yard pass from White to Davis, but

Davis fumbled at the Bills’ 33 and Micah Hyde recovered it.

The Bills got the ball to open the second half and Allen led a 75-yard drive that ended with Isaiah McKenzie scoring on an 8-yard end around.

When the Jets got the ball back, White went for the big play on the first snap, launching a long pass intended for Moore. It was picked off by Tre’Davious White.

Two plays later, Breida scored on a 15-yard run to put the Jets in a 31-3 hole.

Another pick on the next series led to another Bills touchdown, a 1-yard run by Zack Moss that made it 38-3.

"It falls on me to be able to make the right decisions and be able to move this offense and be able to get us out of situations like that," White said. "That’s what needs to get done."

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