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Gardner Minshew's Stock Spikes as Eagles Rout Jets, 33-18

The Eagles' backup QB was spectacular in relief of Jalen Hurts as the Eagles moved to 12-0 all-time vs. the Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The Eagles don't want a quarterback controversy but they have one after Gardner Minshew was spectacular in relief of Jalen Hurts during a 33-18 win over the New York Jets.

Minshew was forced into action due to Hurt's sprained left ankle and he was better than even the most optimistic could have expected, literally perfect by the NFL's own measuring stick, passer rating, until into the third quarter.

By the time the game was finished, Minshew's stat line read 20-of-25 for 242 yards with two touchdowns and a 133.7 passer rating.

A sometimes starter in Jacksonville during his first two seasons, Minshew ran the passing part of Nick Sirianni's offense in a much more efficient manner than Hurts.

The plays seemed to get in faster, and the decision's post-snap by the QB were quick and assured keeping the porous New York Jets defense on its heals throughout.

Behind the scenes, the Eagles noted before kickoff that Hurts would not be losing his job because of an injury.

After 60 minutes of football, even the most confident of Hurts' supporters at the NovaCare Complex have to be a little shaken over how Minshew ran things even when factoring in the light competition.

"I thought the protection was awesome. Not to take anything away from Gardner. He played a great game," head coach Nick Sirianni said. "He got the ball to the backs on check-downs when there wasn’t something there. He hit some chunks in the pass game.

"He had a couple to Quez (Watkins) on those deep overs. I thought he played a really good game."

THE BULLS:

Minshew Mania - Minshew has plenty of limitations but his ability in the intermediate passing game was able to get players who hadn't been involved in recent weeks back in the mix which brings us to...

The Eagles' receivers - With Minshew breathing life into the passing game, that meant more traffic and success for the guys that were targeted.

Dallas Goedert has one catch on three targets for zero yards last week against the Giants. This week, it was six receptions on six targets for 105 yards and a career-high two TDs.

Between Kenny Gainwell, Quez Watkins, and Miles Sanders, the numbers were 11 receptions in 11 targets.

That's pretty impressive stuff.

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Miles Sanders - Sanders wasn't able to finish last week's game tweaking the ankle that cost him three games earlier. The Eagles' RB1 was especially needed this week without Hurts to bolster the running game and Jordan Howard again down with a knee injury not to mention Boston Scott being limited after missing practice time this week with a non-COVID illness.

Sanders answered the bell in a big way, rushing for 120 yards on a career-high 24 carries before leaving late after tweaking his ankle again.

"I’m just ready for whatever," said Sanders. "The way I train, I just expect for the most, you know? I feel like it paid off today. The way I practice, I take it very seriously. Whenever my number is called, I just got to be ready regardless."

Jake Elliott - The NFC's Special Teams Player of the Month continued to be money into December making all four of his field goals and all three extra points. While they weren't long kicks, Elliott's consistency was on display when measured against the competition.

The Jets cut Matt Ammendola late in the week and elevated Alex Kessman. When the teams were trading TDs early Elliott made all three of his PATs while Kessman missed two and had the Jets chasing points with a failed two-point conversion.

It's no coincidence that the Eagles' margin of victory was Elliott's point total of 15.

"We had a pretty good pregame and got an idea of what we wanted to do," Elliott noted.

THE BEARS:

Kickoff Coverage - The Jets have a good kickoff returner in Braxton Berrios and must have seen something in the Eagles' coverage units because they exposed a soft middle.

It started from the opening kickoff when Berrios returned it 79 yards from right up the gut which set up an early New York score. Berrios' other two opportunities went for 60, however, and 30.0 yards per pop so Eagles ST coach Michael Clay certainly won't be happy.

"You’re always going to get those games, obviously, in December coming up to MetLife especially," Elliott said. "The ball just doesn’t travel that well, but for a December game up here in New York, I’ll take that weather all day."

Early passing defense - The Eagles struggled early with Mike LaFleur's game plan, allowing rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who has tremendous arm talent, to get a little too comfortable. The adjustments were made but this defense still makes it a little too easy for QBs at times with too many zone looks.

"I thought the guys up front did a good job, the running backs ran hard, got us into a good situation," Wilson said. "I thought LaFleur called a great play for us to get a touchdown on the first drive and it’s just the momentum we needed."

Jalen Reagor's confidence - The embattled receiver flubbed one kickoff return and a punt return as well, although he recovered the PR and gained 20 yards. The issue though is that Reagor is thinking about things a little too much.

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.