Minshew shines in NFL debut

Associated PressJacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew throws downfield against the Kansas City Chiefs defense during the first half Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The future is now for Gardner Minshew.

The former Washington State quarterback, now a rookie with Jacksonville, took the field when starter Nick Foles went down with a broken clavicle Sunday and made an impressive NFL debut in the Jaguars’ 40-26 loss to Kansas City.

Minshew was one of the Jags’ few bright spots, completing 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

A sixth-round draft pick, Minshew became the most accurate single-game passer in Jaguars history (minimum 25 attempts). His completion percentage also was the highest for any player with at least 15 pass attempts making their NFL debut.

His 275 yards passing were the most by a Jaguars quarterback in his NFL debut and the fifth most by a Jaguars rookie in a single game. Minshew completed his first 13 passes, the third-longest streak in franchise history.

“My plan is to prove that I am the best I can be for this team every day at practice and every snap I get in a game,” Minshew said. “That’s my job. It’s not to figure out if we need to sign a new quarterback. My job is to go out there and be the best I can be for our team.”

Jacksonville will have to sign another quarterback. The team has Chase Litton on the practice squad, and he signed earlier this week.

“I’m fired up for the challenge,” coach Doug Marrone said. “Obviously it’s unfortunate. ... I really feel like we’ve got to step up and go. It’s a great challenge. ... Players are going to look at it. Players are going to read it. Fans are going to read it.

“But I’m telling you, I’m fired up for this team. I’m going to get this team ready to go, and we’re going to win football games.”

For the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes was every bit as good as he was during his MVP campaign. Sammy Watkins was better than ever.

Despite losing star receiver Tyreek Hill early, Mahomes threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Chiefs to a testy victory.

Jacksonville had major issues on both sides of the ball, none more concerning than the health of Foles, who broke his left clavicle in the first quarter and will have surgery today. Chris Jones hit Foles as he released a 35-yard TD pass to DJ Chark. Jones landed on top of Foles, but did not draw a flag.

Foles is expected to be put on injured reserve and won’t be eligible to play again until Week 11.

“It’s not the way you want to start your time here,” said Foles, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract in March. “Sometimes things don’t happen like we expect them to, but we just have to have faith that it’s for a reason.”

Chark caught four passes for 146 yards, and Chris Conley added six receptions for 97 yards and a score against his former team.

Mahomes completed passes to nine receivers. Watkins had most of the highlights.

Watkins had nine receptions for a career-high 198 yards and three TDs. He slipped through the middle of Jacksonville’s defense for a 68-yard score on the third play of the season and added a 49-yard TD reception late in the opening quarter. He made defenders Ronnie Harrison, Jalen Ramsey and Miles Jack look silly while strolling into the end zone twice. He beat Ramsey again for a short TD in the fourth quarter.

Mahomes took a beating even though he wasn’t sacked and even had to leave the game to get his left ankle taped in the second quarter.

It barely slowed him and the Chiefs down; they scored on their first seven possessions.

LeSean McCoy carried 10 times for 81 yards despite barely knowing the offense.

“We have a mindset throughout the season of taking care of certain goals and this was one of them,” Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce said. “Just come out blazing, on fire, like we were last year. ... I think we’re on the right track and we’re going to keep working to get where we want to be.”

Chiefs star Tyreek Hill was transported to a hospital after sustaining a shoulder injury.

The team’s head athletic trainer, Rick Burkholder, said Hill had a “sternoclavicular joint injury” and was taken to Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville. His care was turned over to an ortho-trauma physician.

Burkholder said Hill was being treated to “reduce the dislocation or the injury.”

Jaguars linebacker Jack was ejected in the second quarter after taking a swing at Chiefs receiver Demarcus Robinson. Jack had to be restrained by team officials and essentially pulled off the field.

Jack and Watkins got into a shoving match after a fumble, and then Robinson came in and shoved Jack in the back. Ramsey and others joined in, prompting officials to throw five flags and a hat onto the ground. Jack eventually got the boot after a lengthy discussion.

Jack, a team captain who recently signed a $57 million extension, apologized in the locker room after the game.

“It will not happen again,” he said.

Frank Clark, who recorded 35 sacks the last four years with Seattle, made his Chiefs debut and had an interception off a tipped pass. Clark signed a five-year, $104 million deal to join Kansas City in free agency.

“I’ve got more picks than Jalen Ramsey right now so that’s a highlight,” Clark said.

Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette gained 66 yards on 13 carries and fumbled for the first time in his three NFL seasons. Damien Wilson stripped the ball out of Fournette’s hands after a catch in the flat.

It was Fournette’s first lost fumble since Nov. 12, 2016, during his junior year at LSU.

Kansas City 17 6 7 10 — 40

Jacksonville 7 6 0 13 — 26

First Quarter

KC: Watkins 68 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 13:24.

KC: FG Butker 28, 8:57.

Jac: Chark 35 pass from Foles (Lambo kick), 5:23.

KC: Watkins 49 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 2:36.

Second Quarter

Jac: FG Lambo 37, 11:36.

KC: FG Butker 25, 7:56.

Jac: FG Lambo 23, 4:22.

KC: FG Butker 46, :24.

Third Quarter

KC: Dam.Williams 1 run (Butker kick), 2:25.

Fourth Quarter

KC: Watkins 3 pass from Mahomes (Butker kick), 10:56.

Jac: Westbrook 15 pass from Minshew (pass failed), 7:32.

KC: FG Butker 35, 3:33.

Jac: Conley 21 pass from Minshew (Lambo kick), 1:55.

A: 60,157.

KC Jac

First downs 24 18

Total Net Yards 491 428

Rushes-yards 26-113 16-81

Passing 378 347

Punt Returns 1-0 0-0

Kickoff Returns 2-45 2-38

Interceptions Ret. 1-5 0-0

Comp-Att-Int 25-34-0 27-33-1

Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0 1-3

Punts 1-51.0 2-48.0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards 5-55 10-71

Time of Possession 31:15 28:45

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Kansas City, McCoy 10-81, Dam.Williams 13-26, Hill 1-5, Mahomes 1-2, Moore 1-(minus 1). Jacksonville, Fournette 13-66, Armstead 1-7, Minshew 1-6, Westbrook 1-2.

PASSING: Kansas City, Mahomes 25-33-0-378, Moore 0-1-0-0. Jacksonville, Foles 5-8-0-75, Minshew 22-25-1-275.

RECEIVING: Kansas City, Watkins 9-198, Dam.Williams 6-39, Kelce 3-88, Hill 2-16, Sherman 1-15, McCoy 1-12, Bell 1-7, Thompson 1-3, D.Robinson 1-0. Jacksonville, Conley 6-97, Westbrook 5-30, Chark 4-146, O’Shaughnessy 4-32, Fournette 4-28, Swaim 4-17.

MISSED FIELD GOALS: None.

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