Mike White won the battle of the backups Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The New York Jets quarterback, filling in for benched starter Zach Wilson, threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-10 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Trevor Siemian, who started in place of injured Bears starter Justin Fields, completed 14 of 25 passes for 179 yards with a touchdown and an interception on a wet afternoon in New Jersey.
Siemian was the starting quarterback, then the backup, then the starter in the 90 minutes leading up to the game.
A Bears media relations staff member told reporters about 50 minutes before the game that Siemian suffered an oblique injury in pregame warmups, and the team instead would turn to third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman. But the Bears changed their tune about 40 minutes later, saying Siemian might play.
He played the entire game.
In the second half, the Bears didn’t get into Jets territory until early in the fourth quarter. Down by 21 points, they went for it on fourth-and-5 from the 27-yard line, but Lamarcus Joyner nearly intercepted Siemian at the goal line on a pass intended for Chase Claypool.
On the next Bears drive, Siemian threw an interception to linebacker C.J. Mosley at the Jets 4-yard line.
The Jets built on a 17-10 halftime lead when White hit Elijah Moore with a 22-yard touchdown pass with 6:35 to play in the third quarter. The pass completed a six-play, 53-yard drive that was five run plays and then the touchdown pass.
Ty Johnson’s 32-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter pushed the lead to 31-10. Johnson got by several Bears defenders, dodging tackle attempts from Jack Sanborn, DeAndre Houston-Carson and Elijah Hicks.
The Bears lost multiple players to injuries during the game.
Safety Eddie Jackson was ruled out with a left foot injury, and wide receiver Darnell Mooney exited with a left ankle injury. Right tackles Riley Reiff (shoulder) and Larry Borom (undisclosed) also left with injuries.
Read more coverage from MetLife Stadium.
Here’s how Week 12 unfolded.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields officially is inactive against the Jets due to a separated left shoulder. Trevor Siemian will start for the Bears for the first time, while Nathan Peterman will be his backup.
The Bears listed Fields as questionable leading up to the game after he was limited in practice all week because of the injury he suffered in the final minutes of the Week 11 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Fields warmed up on the field less than two hours before game time with Siemian and Peterman, but he took most of the reps third.
Also inactive for the Bears are cornerback Kyler Gordon, safety Jaquan Brisker and linebacker Sterling Weatherford, who are all out with concussions. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry and offensive linemen Alex Leatherwood and Ja’Tyre Carter are healthy scratches.
For the Jets, quarterback Zach Wilson, running back James Robinson, wide receiver Jeff Smith, tight end Kenny Yeboah, defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins, cornerback Bryce Hall and safety Tony Adams are inactive.
After an hour of pregame confusion, Trevor Siemian started at quarterback for the Bears on Sunday.
Bears media relations staff said about 50 minutes before game time that Siemian injured his oblique during pregame warmups and third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman would start instead.
But about 10 minutes before the game, a Bears staffer said Siemian might start after all. The Bears opened the game on defense and gave up a touchdown. After the ensuing kickoff, Siemian entered the game and led the Bears on a 71-yard drive that ended with Cairo Santos’ 22-yard field goal.
All three quarterbacks warmed up on the field about 90 minutes before kickoff, with Siemian taking most of the reps first. Starter Justin Fields, who has been dealing with a left shoulder injury, was declared inactive during those warmups. About 50 minutes before kickoff, the Bears announced Siemian’s injury.
But Siemian returned during team warmups and took reps with the first team, setting up his return.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus has been evasive with injury updates this season for what he said are competitive reasons.
Halftime: Jets 17, Bears 10
Bears quarterback Trevor Siemian threw for 127 yards and a touchdown in the first half of his first start in place of injured quarterback Justin Fields.
But a depleted Bears defense couldn’t do enough to slow Jets fill-in quarterback Mike White, and the Jets took a 17-10 halftime lead.
Bears safety Eddie Jackson suffered a left foot injury in the second quarter and limped off the field and into the injury tent. The Bears quickly ruled him out. The Bears already were playing without starting cornerback Kyler Gordon and safety Jaquan Brisker, who are in concussion protocol.
White, filling in for benched starter Zach Wilson, led the Jets on a 75-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession. He completed 6 of 7 passes for 69 yards on the drive, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Wilson.
In the half, White completed 16 of 20 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns.
The Jets attempted a 36-yard field goal midway through the second quarter, but holder Braden Mann lost control of the football. He recovered the fumble and attempted to throw a pass, but it was incomplete.
But the Jets scored on White’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Wilson on the next drive for a 14-10 lead. Kicker Greg Zuerlein made a 57-yard field goal in the final minute of the half to make it 17-10.
The Bears settled for a 22-yard Cairo Santos field goal on their opening drive.
Siemian led the Bears on a 71-yard touchdown drive on their next possession. That included passes of 20 and 31 yards to Chase Claypool, the latter pushing the Bears to the Jets’ 9-yard line. Siemian capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle for a 10-7 lead.
Bears right tackle Riley Reiff suffered a shoulder injury, and safety Dane Cruikshank suffered a hamstring injury in the half.
Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney went to the locker room with an apparent left leg injury early in the third quarter. The Bears listed him as doubtful to return with an ankle injury.
Mooney was injured on David Montgomery’s 13-yard run on the Bears’ first play of their second drive in the half.
He stayed down for several minutes while trainers tended to him, and Bears staff then helped him off the field and into the tunnel.
Mooney was the second major Bears injury of the game. The Bears ruled safety Eddie Jackson out with a left foot injury in the second quarter.
Change it up
Don’t worry, Cole Kmet said, Trevor Siemian will not take it as an insult if you say he is unlikely to keep the ball on a zone read and motor 60 yards through the Jets defense Sunday.
“Definitely more of a drop-back guy, get the ball out, timing,” Kmet said. “We’re not going to be running QB power with Trevor.”
The Bears offense figures to take on a different look if Siemian is called on to replace Justin Fields, who is questionable with a separated left shoulder suffered on a quarterback sweep near the end of Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Two sources told the Tribune that Siemian is likely to start. ESPN also reported late Saturday that the Bears are expected to start Siemian over Fields, while NFL Network said Fields would warm up Sunday but the Bears playing him is a “long shot.”
It’s also likely to look different if Fields plays. The Bears surely don’t want to put him at risk of making the injury — which includes a partially torn ligament — worse. With either quarterback, the Bears likely will need to throw the ball more.
4 key questions
The Bears on Sunday will play at MetLife Stadium for the second time this season, facing the Jets in East Rutherford, N.J. They lost to the Giants 20-12 in Week 4.
As the game approaches, our team of writers digs in to four key topics surrounding the 3-8 Bears.