EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Gardner Minshew sure knows how to make an entrance.
With Jalen Hurts sidelined with an ankle injury, Minshew impressed in his first start for the Philadelphia Eagles, going 20-of-25 for 242 yards with two touchdowns to power the Eagles over the New York Jets 33-18.
The offense scored on each of its first seven drives under Minshew, who posted a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating in the first half while matching Donovan McNabb for highest first-half completion rate (93.3%) by an Eagles quarterback since 1991.
Minshew has a thing for debuts. He completed 88% of his throws in his first pro start in 2019 for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his first start of 2020, he went 19-of-20 for a 95% completion rate.
His performance is sure to create a stir in Philadelphia. However, the expectation is Hurts will reclaim the starting job once healthy. Hurts was a limited participant in practice this week after spraining his left ankle against the New York Giants. He has an extra week to get right, as the Eagles have a bye this week before hosting the Washington Football Team on Dec. 19.
Making his first start since last December, Minshew got off to a red-hot start, going 3-for-3 for 61 yards on the Eagles’ opening drive, with all three of those completions going to tight end Dallas Goedert. Minshew and Goedert connected for 36 yards to cap the series.
He finished the first half 14-of-15 for 188 yards with two touchdowns (both to Goedert) and became the fourth Eagles QB since ’91 to post a perfect first-half quarterback rating.
The Eagles acquired Minshew from the Jags for a conditional sixth-round pick in late August. He now has 39 touchdowns to 11 interceptions over 41 NFL starts.
With the win Sunday, which improved the Eagles to 6-7 this season, the team’s playoff chances increased from 25% to 30%, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.