CLEVELAND — Eagles second-string quarterback Gardner Minshew led the Philadelphia Eagles offense on two long first-half touchdown drives and the Birds beat the Cleveland Browns 21-20 on Sunday in an exhibition game watched by the starters by both teams, along with Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who will soon be suspended.
Starting with QB Jalen Hurts in street clothes on the Philly sideline, Minshew led an opening 14-play drive and followed it with a 17-play march, both ending in short TD runs for the Eagles (1-1).
Minshey finished 14 of 17 for 142 yards before turning over to Reid Sinnett in the second half.
In the third quarter, Sinnett connected with rookie wide receiver Devon Allen on a 55-yard TD pass to give the Eagles a 21-20 lead.
It was the first catch in an organized game in six years for Allen, 27, an Olympic hurdler trying to make Philadelphia’s roster.
“That was a cute game, wasn’t it?” Eagles coach Nick Siriani said. “It was wonderful. I was so happy for him. I think it’s hard to go and do what Devon did. He has not played football for a long time and is slowly getting into it.
“He gets into a groove right there. He hasn’t played football in five years, but all the time we thought he was very fast. What a great ball from Reid. What a great catch and route Devon.’
Joshua Dobbs ran for a touchdown and looked good leading Cleveland’s backups.
Dobbs scored on a 3-yard run in the first quarter for the second time of the preseason for the Browns (1-1), who are hoping to have him as their No. 2 QB behind Jacoby Brissett while Watson completes an 11- games.
Dobbs was 14 of 20 for 141 yards before Josh Rosen replaced him in the third quarter. Dobbs, who signed with Cleveland in April, has been ahead of Rosen throughout camp and is likely to stay there.
It was the Browns’ first game since learning Watson would be out until at least December after agreeing to an extended suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
The three-time Pro Bowler agreed to a settlement with the league on Thursday, ending months of speculation about his status. Watson will play 11 games, pay a $5 million fine and undergo testing and counseling before returning.
Watson has been accused of sexually assaulting and harassing two dozen women during a massage while he played for the Houston Texans.
The Eagles and Browns practiced together for two days leading up to the game, allowing Philadelphia coach Nick Siriani and Cleveland’s Kevin Stefanski to get valuable reps for their starting lineups.
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Minshew, a two-time starter last season when Hurts was sidelined with an ankle injury, went 4-of-4 for 43 yards on Philadelphia’s first possession, which ended with a Boston Scott 1-and-out.
Browns rookie Cade York showed off a powerful right leg in his first game at FirstEnergy Stadium. The fourth-round draft pick out of LSU had kicks of 50 and 19 yards, but he hit the right post on a 55-yarder that had a lot of distance.
Eagles: CB Josiah Scott left the field in the second quarter. LB Patrick Johnson, DT Marvin Wilson and LB Sean Bradley were all injured in the third. The team did not specify their injuries or provide any updates.
Browns: It was a tough day for the defensive backs as rookie Martin Emerson Jr. (arm), AJ Green (head) and Herb Miller (leg) were sidelined. Emerson left on Philadelphia’s second series and did not return. The third-round draft pick had a solid summer, returning an interception for a touchdown last week at Jacksonville.
Eagles: Wrap up preseason Saturday at Miami.
Browns: Brissett and Cleveland’s starters will play Saturday against Chicago.