Mon, 29 Nov 2021

Zach Ertz Gets Comfortable, Plays Big Role For Cardinals At Seattle

Arizona Cardinals
22 Nov 2021, 18:03 GMT+10

Tight end scores twice in his best outing since being traded from Philadelphia Kevin Parrish Jr.

The Cardinals were fresh off a poor performance last week at State Farm Stadium and already without quarterback Kyler Murray and wideout DeAndre Hopkins for the third consecutive game Sunday.

Tight end Zach Ertz understood the assignment of being underdogs at Lumen Field, one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL -- where Ertz had not enjoyed much success before. An upcoming Thanksgiving bye week factored in.

"There is no worse feeling than losing before the bye week," Ertz said. "Finding a way to win was definitely a big goal of ours."

In the Cardinals' 23-13 victory over Seattle, Ertz was a big reason why.

Ertz had eight catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns, tying a career-high. It was undoubtedly Ertz's best performance as a Cardinal since his trade from Philadelphia in October.

Sunday marked his seventh career game with multiple TD catches, and first since December 2019 in a win over the New York Giants. Ertz now has four touchdown receptions in his last six games, including three in five games with the Cardinals.

Since his rookie year in 2013, only three tight ends have more TDs than his 40: Chicago's Jimmy Graham, Kansas City's Travis Kelce, and Tampa Bay's Rob Gronkowski.

Quarterback Colt McCoy, who was excellent on the afternoon, was in sync with Ertz all game. Ertz said his increased comfort level in understanding the playbook factored into his Sunday performance.

"I think it's a combination of a lot of hard work," Ertz said "From guys helping me out, from just trying to get in the playbook as much as possible to the coaching staff trusting me. This isn't about me; this is a team win."

The Cardinals have recaptured the best record in the league since Minnesota defeated Green Bay on Sunday. They remain undefeated in NFC West divisional games this season, and after a much-needed bye next week, Murray and Hopkins are expected to return.

Having Ertz as a target will only help Murray.

Kliff Kingsbury said that as Ertz's time in the offense passes, the Cardinals will continue to incorporate the recently acquired tight end into an offense loaded with playmaking pass catches.

"I think as I continue to get comfortable with him and he gets more comfortable with me, the scheme, being on the same page as the quarterback, he'll continue to emerge," Kingsbury said. "But we have a ton of weapons and it just happened to be his night."

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