Zach Ertz had a career year in 2017, helping lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a first-place finish in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Individually, Ertz was selected to his first Pro Bowl in his five-year career.
The Eagles tight end posted a career-high eight receiving touchdowns this season, which doubled his previous high of four, which he had done twice (2013 and 2016).
Ertz thrived in the redzone, regularly using his size, route-running ability and sticky hands to make critical plays near the endzone. He was a constant threat in the redzone this season certainly, but that wasn’t the only place he dealt damage to his opponent.
Another piece of Ertz’s game this season involved his ability to pick up first downs. Ertz converted 46 first downs this season, which was another career-high mark for the Eagles tight end. These plays may not be the highlight reel plays that grab headlines, but they add up and are crucial to team success.
When you compare Ertz’s numbers to the other elite tight ends in the NFL this season, Ertz stacks up quite well.
Ertz ranked third in receptions among tight ends (74), third in yards (824), and tied for second in touchdowns with Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and Kyle Rudolph.
This season Ertz continued to prove that he is a reliable weapon on offense, eclipsing 800 yards for the third consecutive season. This year also marked the second consecutive season that Ertz led the Eagles in receiving yards and he is the only tight end in the NFL to lead his team in receiving yards over the last two seasons.
Zach had his game of the season in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears, hauling in 10 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.
— Red Zone Channel (@RedZoneChannel) November 26, 2017
And…Zach Ertz just became the first Eagle with a 100-yard receiving game this season.
— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) November 26, 2017
— Jamie Apody (@JamieApody) November 26, 2017
Ertz’s stellar play earned him praise from coaches and teammates, but also division rivals. Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten has been impressed by Ertz’s game this season and had many good things to say about Ertz leading into their Week 17 matchup.
“I think he’s just an exceptional player. Love how he plays the game, the position,” said Witten. “It’s good to see him having the year that he’s had and develop into his own, one of the best in the game.”
The season is not over for Ertz and the Eagles. The have a bye week in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, but they will return to action next week at Lincoln Financial Field against the lowest remaining seed in the NFC.
Despite losing starting QB Carson Wentz to injury in a Week 14 win over the Los Angeles Rams, the Eagles still feel confident in their chances with Nick Foles under center.
The Eagles still have plenty of offensive weapons for Foles to utilize in the postseason, including receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, and running backs Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount.
Ertz figures to be a vital component to the Eagles’ success in the playoffs. This year, Philadelphia has won all seven games when their star tight end has scored a touchdown, but they are only 4-3 when Ertz failed to score this season.
Whether the Eagles are matched up with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints or Carolina Panthers, look for Nick Foles to rely on Zach in big moments on Jan. 13 in Philadelphia.
For Ertz, the regular season was great, but his focus is solely on the postseason now that it has arrived.
“We have to focus on this playoff game. We have to win a game. I haven’t won a postseason game since I’ve been here,” said Ertz.
— Kasey Jo Hudson (@KJHud99) January 4, 2018