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Tim Tebow makes Eagles’ decision harder after outplaying Matt Barkley vs. Jets

Tim Tebow

Philadelphia quarterback Tim Tebow scrambles away from the New York Jets’ Trevor Reilly on Thursday night.

(David Maialetti / Philadelphia Inquirer)

One of the most closely followed battles of the NFL preseason is for the Philadelphia Eagles' third-string quarterback spot, which would seem strange if not for the fact that Tim Tebow is involved.

Eagles Coach Chip Kelly made a lot of interesting moves during the off-season, not the least of which was to bring in Tebow -- who hasn't played in a regular-season game since 2012 but still seems to bring a circus-like atmosphere everywhere he goes -- to compete with third-year player Matt Barkley to back up quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez.

For much of the summer, Barkley's job has seemed pretty safe. But Tebow was given one more chance Thursday night during the Eagles' final preseason game and made the most of it. Alternating quarters with Barkley, Tebow was clearly the team's better quarterback during the 24-18 loss to the New York Jets.

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Tebow completed 11 of 17 passes for 189 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 117.0 and his best performance of the preseason.

But it was about more than just the numbers for Tebow. Check out some of his highlights:

There's no such highlight reel from Thursday night for Barkley, who gave his worst performance of the preseason. He completed four of nine passes for 45 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 20.4.

For the preseason Tebow completed 21 of 36 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and one interception; Barkley was 27 of 52 for 351 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

NFL teams have until Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT to trim their rosters to 53 players. Kelly has said that one preseason game won't determine who his No. 3 quarterback is. We might find out in the next day or so whether that's true.

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