The miraculous has seemingly happened. Zach Ertz is cleared to play in the playoffs.
One day after his lack of participation in the final practice of the week left his status for Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lincoln Financial Field in serious doubt, reports coming out of Philadelphia state that Zach Ertz will play on Sunday as the Eagles look to advance beyond the Wild Card round for the third consecutive year.
Here’s some news eagles fans have been waiting to hear… looks like Zach Ertz has been cleared to play tomorrow …. per league source.
— Derrick Gunn (@RealDGunnNBCS) January 4, 2020
The fact that Zach Ertz is going to play tomorrow despite a fractured rib and a lacerated kidney is the stuff legends are made of in Philly.
— Cody Swartz (@cbswartz5) January 4, 2020
Future Hall of Fame Tight End Philadelphia Eagles Zach Ertz is playing tomorrow despite being told a hit could have a career ending. His teammates can’t help but be inspired #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/LEdLkzMVHL
— Chris Mallee (@mallee_chris_24) January 4, 2020
Zach Ertz showing up to the playoffs after the Cowboys tried to kill him. pic.twitter.com/puuFsrK6mu
— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) January 3, 2020
Zach was injured in Philadelphia’s Week 16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, a win that allowed the Eagles to take control of the NFC East. No. 86 left the field after a shot to the body from Xavier Woods in the first quarter, but returned to finish the game and help Philly seal the victory. He was later diagnosed with broken ribs, a painful injury he intended to play through. But reports in the days that followed indicated that Zach had also suffered a lacerated kidney, an injury that reportedly could take up to six weeks to recover from.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 3, 2020
No. 86 missed Philadelphia’s NFC East clinching win over the New York Giants in Week 17 and his status going into the playoffs was in extreme doubt, as he sought clearance for contact all week but never received it. However, that clearance has apparently come, just in the knick of time for Zach and the Eagles, who will need all the help they can get to get by Seattle. Philadelphia will still be without wide receivers Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor for Sunday’s game. Right tackle Lane Johnson and right guard Brandon Brooks will also miss the contest, leaving Philadelphia thin in the pass-catching and blocking departments Zach specializes in.
The Seahawks have also been notoriously bad at defending opposing tight ends this season. Seattle has given up just shy of 100 receptions for nearly 1,100 receiving yards to go along with six scores to the position this year, and Zach contributed to those numbers in Week 12 with a game-high 12 catches for 91 yards and the Eagles only touchdown of the day in a 17-9 Philly loss. If Zach can duplicate those numbers on Sunday it could be just what the doctor ordered for the Eagles.
But the fact that he’ll be out there at all is a win for Philly that gives them a chance to ride to another playoff win.
Kickoff from Lincoln Financial Field is scheduled for 4:45 pm ET and the game can be seen nationally on NBC.