The Philadelphia Eagles called on backup quarterback Gardner Minshew to start in place of the banged-up Jalen Hurts on Sunday afternoon, and much to the team's delight, his performance pushed them one week deeper into the NFC playoff conversation.
With a lightened attitude and fan-favorite personality, Minshew made the most of his starting opportunity, throwing for 242 yards with two touchdowns in the Eagles' 33-18 road win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. There's no quarterback controversy, but Philadelphia is now 6-7, a half-game back of the seventh and final playoff spot.
"The reason I think Gardner Minshew excels in this offense is because it's simple. It's easy completions, and he takes them," Tiki Barber said during the Tiki and Tierney show on Monday. "He keeps things moving, at the end of the day, that's all you can ask from your quarterback... There's limitations in what this Eagles offense can do. So, if you're the Eagles and looking at Hurts -- and you love the kid because he's so dynamic -- there's not a lot of consistency.
"And if you're going to be compete -- they're the eighth seed right now -- they have a chance to move forward, but they need a quarterback who's going to be steady. Now, I'm not saying Hurts is out, forget him. There's a role, it's just going to be hard to do that. Most coaches can't manage that, having a two-quarterback system... I think I'd [stick with Minshew right now]."
Minshew, who was traded to Philadelphia by the Jacksonville Jaguars back in August, made light work of the Jets' abysmal defense. He completed his first 11 passes, producing a perfect first-half passer rating (158.3), and his first-half completion percentage (93.3) tied the best mark by any Eagles quarterback since at least 1991, according to CBS Sports. Minshew's two passing scores went to tight end Dallas Goedert, who had a career-high 105 receiving yards.
Following the game, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters that the decision to start Minshew against New York wasn't made until Sunday, and when asked if Hurts will remain the team's starter moving forward, Sirianni replied, "Yeah, of course." Hurts, who suffered an ankle injury in the Eagles' 13-7 loss to the rival New York Giants last week, has thrown for 2,435 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions and rushed for 695 yards with eight scores on 122 carries this season.
Philadelphia does have time to let the buzz surrounding Minshew quiet down and Hurts' ankle heal. The team has entered its Week 14 bye, with two weeks to prepare for a home matchup against the Washington Football Team (6-6) on Dec. 19. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Eagles currently have a 38-percent chance to reach the playoffs.
Tiki and Tierney's complete thoughts on Minshew and the Eagles' playoff hopes can be accessed in the audio player above.