INDIANAPOLIS — At the end of the Jets’ 45-30 loss to the Colts on Thursday night, Josh Johnson walked around the visitors’ locker room at Lucas Oil Stadium and thanked each of his teammates for their effort.
Johnson, the Jets’ third-string quarterback, was forced into duty in the first quarter when No. 2 quarterback Mike White was knocked out with an arm injury. Johnson should have been the player in that locker room being thanked by the rest of his teammates.
Before he played a few snaps on Sunday against the Bengals when White was briefly knocked from that game, Johnson had not played since 2018. He performed admirably Thursday, completing 27 of 41 passes for 317 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a rating of 103.4.
While the Jets were getting blown out because of their porous defense, Johnson kept the offense relevant. That’s a credit to him considering before last week, he had spent the season on the practice squad. He was elevated to the Jets’ regular roster before each of the past two games.
Johnson, too, has had to shrug off the disappointment of the Jets trading for veteran Joe Flacco after rookie starter Zach Wilson injured his knee.
When asked about the “whirlwind’’ week, Johnson said: “Pretty much my whole career has been whirlwind, so it’s just something you kind of expect. I’ve gotten used to it. I just tried to do best I can to prepare and show the team that they can rely on me when they need me.’’
Johnson, who was drafted by the Buccaneers in 2009, has started just eight games in his NFL career. He played in the Alliance of American Football in 2019 and in the XFL in 2020 before the Jets brought him on board as an insurance third stringer.
Johnson said the feeling when White went out was “two-fold, because you feel for your teammate, your brother, a guy who you’ve gotten close with, because being a backup quarterback you don’t get too any opportunities.
“The second thing is you got to get ready to go,’’ Johnson went on. “For me personally, it was like ‘just breathe.’ Even in year 13, you still get butterflies and have to settle in.’’
When he did settle in, the Jets were able to put up 20 second-half points.
“We don’t get a lot of reps as backups,’’ Johnson said. “I was throwing to guys today I haven’t thrown to. I was taking snaps from Connor [McGovern, the starting center] and hadn’t taken many snaps with him.
“These guys haven’t been in the huddle with me before. For me, it was showing the guys I won’t blink.’’
“He stepped in and didn’t flinch,’’ said rookie receiver Elijah Moore, who caught one of his two TD passes from Johnson.
“He didn’t miss a beat,’’ linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “He showed his resilience. After the game, he told everyone on the locker room he appreciated us. We appreciate him.’’
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