Zach Ertz hauled in a big 24-yard reception in the waning seconds of the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 15 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, setting up a 4-yard touchdown run by Carson Wentz just a few plays later.
After the score, the Eagles still trailed 27-26 with four seconds left on the clock, and head coach Doug Pederson called for a 2-point conversion, hoping to end his squad’s four-game skid right then and there. Unfortunately, Wentz couldn’t connect with Jordan Matthews on what would’ve been the game-winning conversion, and Philly fell by one. But Zach and his teammates were supportive of the gutsy call, despite the difficult outcome.
“It’s tough, but I’d rather go out swinging this way than kind of go into overtime,” said Zach. “Doug’s got full faith in us. It speaks volumes. You love to have a head coach that has that trust in you as players and as an offense because he’s an offensive coach obviously. We already scored once on a two-point earlier in the game. So as the offense, we had the mentality that we were going to win the game right there.”
An early interception by Wentz helped the Ravens claim a 10-3 lead early. But the Philly defense got that back with a turnover of its own. Nigel Bradham forced it on a strip-sack of Joe Flacco, and Fletcher Cox jumped on it, giving the Philly offense the ball at Baltimore’s 8-yard line.
Two plays later, Ryan Mathews punched it in from four yards out, and then the Philly running back added the 2-point conversion on the ground to give the Eagles an 11-10 lead.
Ertz didn’t haul in his first pass until late in the second quarter, but he had a solid day, leading all receivers in the contest with six receptions and 80 yards. Zach’s first catch came on a critical 4th-and-1, an 11-yard reception to move the chains and eventually set up a Caleb Sturgis field goal.
Unfortunately, the Ravens came right back, as Flacco linked up with veteran receiver Steve Smith to make it 20-14 in favor of the home team at the half.
The Eagles came out of halftime and tacked on a 27-yard field goal. No. 86 had two receptions on that drive but ended the day disappointed that Philly couldn’t find the end zone more often.
“We need to learn how to finish in the red zone early so we’re not in that situation late in the game,” Zach said. “When you settle for field goals in this league, it’s, obviously, tough. We’re learning from this.”
The Ravens responded with their third touchdown of the afternoon to put Philly in a 10-point hole. The Eagles mounted their comeback that began on the defensive side of the ball, as Jordan Hicks intercepted a pass from Flacco. ZE powered the ensuing drive with two first-down receptions, but once again, the Eagles stalled near the end zone, settling for a 29-yard Sturgis field goal, making the score 27-20.
The Philly defense forced a quick 3-and-out on the following drive, and Philly kept rolling offensively with just 1:39 on the clock. Zach’s 24-yard reception came right when the Eagles needed it, and it was the squad’s longest play of the day.
“I think guys just finally made plays,” Zach said. “We started executing at a high level. The whole game, we were executing at a pretty high level. … In the two-minute drive, guys just made plays.”
Unfortunately, the Eagles came one play short of the win. Philadelphia returns to action next Sunday in primetime against the Giants. Kickoff is set for 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC.