Tell a New York Jets fan that their team scored touchdowns on their first three drives of the game, they might feel pretty good about their chances.
But this is the Jets — and they were facing… Gardner Minshew, who dismantled Gang Green in a 33-18 Eagles victory in Week 13 action at MetLife Stadium.
Minshew, making his first start for the Eagles (6-7), came out like gangbusters — riding a huge first half in which he completed 14-of-15 passes for 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
He finished completing 20-of-25 attempts for 242 yards while running back Miles Sanders had a career day, posting 120 yards on 24 carries.
Zach Wilson didn’t stand a chance despite a hot start, going 23-of-38 for 226 yards, two touchdowns, and — of course — an interception.
Both Philadelphia and the Jets’ offenses were on fire, combining to score touchdowns on each of the game’s first six drives.
Braxton Berrios took the game’s opening kick-off 79 yards to the Eagles’ 21-yard-line to immediately put the Jets (3-9) in menacing field position.
They needed five plays, ending with Wilson hitting Elijah Moore for a three-yard score. But Alex Kessman, who was signed after the Jets cut Matt Ammendola, missed the extra point.
Just 3:17 later, the Eagles led after going 75 yards on six plays to get Minshew’s day started on the right foot. The backup went 3-for-3 for 61 yards on the drive, including a 36-yard touchdown dime while falling away to Dallas Goedert.
It was just the start of Minshew’s hot start, as he completed his first 11 passes of the afternoon
On the ensuing drive which saw the Eagles lose their defensive leader in lineman Fletcher Cox, the Jets responded with Wilson punching home a one-yard touchdown. It capped off an 11-play, 68-yard drive that bled more than six minutes off the clock that saw Wilson complete 4-of-5 passes.
But again, Kessman could not hit the extra point, limiting the Jets’ advantage — soon to be a disadvantage — to just five points.
The Eagles punched back quickly once again as Minshew went 5-for-5 for 64 yards and connected with Goedert yet again, this time for a 25-yard-score to take a two-point lead 48 seconds into the second quarter.
The Jets recorded the game’s fifth straight touchdown to start just five minutes later with Wilson hitting Ryan Griffin for a one-yard score; set up by a 29-yard reception to Moore and a 19-yard hook-up with Jamison Crowder.
With confidence seemingly already lost in Kessman, the Jets’ attempted two-point conversion failed to take a four-point lead with 9:22 to go in the second quarter.
Per Elias Sports, the Jets are the first team in 40 years to score a touchdown on each of their first three possessions of a game and record just 18 points.
Back the Eagles came with the game’s sixth straight touchdown, going 94 yards on nine plays to take a 21-18 lead with 4:30 to go in the half. Kenneth Gainwell went 18 yards right up the gut for the go-ahead score, but not before Minshew connected on another three passes for 40 yards.
Minshew (11-for-11) and Wilson (11-for-13) combined to complete 22 of their first 24 passes over those first six drives.
The Jets couldn’t keep the streak going late in the first half, going three-and-out and punting it away to give Philadelphia the ball back with 2:22 to go.
Minshew’s first incompletion came with 1:29 left in the half, but that didn’t stop the Eagles from nabbing some more points before the break as Jake Elliott’s 31-yard field goal gave Philadelphia a six-point lead heading to the locker room.
The Eagles opened up the second half with a mammoth 14-play drive that took 8:22 off the clock, but they had to settle for a field goal to go up nine after the Jets nearly came away with a fumble recovery and getting to Minshew at the 14-yard-line.
Philadelphia didn’t score again in that third quarter, but they held the ball for 13:50 compared to just 1:10 by the Jets.
Their last possession of the frame ate up the last 5:28, including an encroachment penalty by Jets linebacker CJ Mosely on a 4th-&-4 to give the Eagles new life before a Minshew scramble on a 4th-&-1 from the New York 34-yard-line was initially stopped short before a review reversed the call.
In total, it turned out to be a 13-play drive that went 6:13 and ended with another Elliott field goal to make it a 12-point game just 45 seconds into the final quarter.
It wouldn’t have been a Jets Sunday if Wilson wasn’t intercepted, and his 11th of the year came just over a minute after the Eagles extended their lead when a pass intended for Crowder was airmailed over the receiver and into the arms of Marcus Epps at the Eagles’ 43-yard-line.