Eagles' unselfishness reaches new heights with Ertz

USA Today Images

Eagles' unselfishness reaches new heights with Ertz

The Eagles took their unselfish nature to new levels on Sunday when teammates insisted on force-feeding Zach Ertz the football in garbage time so he could break 100 yards.

The score was 31-3 with under seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter, and several Eagles starters were already out of the game. Not Ertz. He was busy hauling in a five-yard pass from backup quarterback Nick Foles on 3rd-and-3 against a hapless Bears squad with no hope of coming back — all because it put him over the century mark.

Why was it significant to get Ertz to 100 yards? After all, he'd already reached that mark five times in his career, including a career-best 152 receiving yards last January against the Giants.

This time, it was all because Ertz became the first Eagles player to reach 100 yards receiving in 2017.

"When I was at 9-for-98, they were telling me, 'Hey you just need one more catch, just get one more catch,'" Ertz said postgame. "So we said on third down, I was going to go in there if it was a pass.

"I knew I was getting the ball. I knew it. There was no way I wasn't getting that ball, that last one. It's fun. I mean, I think it shows how close these guys are, how much we truly care about one another. Everyone is happy for the other man's success. I think that's a testament to this team."

Afterward, Eagles coach Doug Pederson tried to pour a little cold water on the idea the goal of the play was to push Ertz into triple-digits, while also admitting he was aware they were closing in on the feat.

Surely, he knew what would happen when Ertz went back into the game for that third-down call.

"We kind of knew a little bit in the second half he was getting close, but we were still just trying to finish the game," Pederson said. "It just so happened that he was able to catch that last pass from Nick and get the 100 yards."

Ertz had a team-high 10 receptions (on 12 targets) for 103 yards and a touchdown. Yet, while the numbers were seemingly important to his teammates, Ertz's concern was on a victory that improved the Eagles' record to 10-1.

"All we're focused on is winning the football game," Ertz said. "You can tell how much each and every person cares about one another when I finally had 100 and everyone else was so happy for me."

Maybe players grew tired of being asked about the absence of a 100-yard receiving performance in the midst of a nine-game winning streak. As they maintained all along, that it took until Week 12 has been a reflection of the amount of talent in this offense.

It's also a reflection of their heart, because Alshon Jeffery or even Nelson Agholor, with the season he's having, could demand the ball much more.

Instead, everybody keeps on waiting for their turn for the good of the collective.

"It just shows you how unselfish this team is, the fact that it's not all about one guy," Pederson said. "It's everybody. Everybody's making plays on offense.

"The fact that we're spreading the ball around and everybody's involved and we're still being efficient on offense is a tribute to the way these guys work and practice each week."

According to Ertz, their motivation is not difficult to understand.

"All of us have had the individual success, but none of us have really had the team success that we're all striving for," Ertz said. "Everyone is putting their egos aside and just focusing on winning."

The Eagles had 420 yards of total offense against the Bears — 176 on the ground, 244 through the air. That was with perhaps taking their foot off the gas pedal in the second half after jumping out to a 24-0 lead before heading into the locker room.

It's tough to say what's scarier — that Ertz believes this wasn't quite a "complete" offensive performance for the Eagles, or that they did this while half the locker room was feeling under the weather.

"The full team has kind of been under the weather getting back from Dallas early," Ertz said. Obviously, it's tough this time of year.

"Not everyone was healthy, I can tell you that much."

Whatever their ailments, nothing was going to dampen the Eagles' enjoyment of Ertz's chase for 100 yards and another W.

Nick Foles leads entire NFL in player sales merchandise this offseason

Nick Foles leads entire NFL in player sales merchandise this offseason

Everyone knows the plan is for Nick Foles to eventually head back to the bench in favor of Carson Wentz.

Apparently, Eagles fans just didn’t care.

Because when the NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales list for the first quarter of 2018 was released on Thursday, Foles was right at the top for all officially licensed merchandise from March 1-May 31.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Nick Foles
2. Tom Brady 
3. Carson Wentz
4. Saquon Barkley
5. Dak Prescott
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Ezekiel Elliott
8. Jimmy Garoppolo
9. Odell Beckham Jr. 
10. Derek Carr

That means the NFC East took six of the top 10 spots, which is pretty wild.

But it’s even crazier to think that Foles went from starting last season as a backup to having more products with his likeness sold this offseason than any other player in the league, including the guy whose job he took and who is expected to take it back. He also beat that guy who didn’t catch a pass in the Super Bowl.

We definitely saw a Super Bowl spike in this list, starting with Foles, who led all players in photography products sold. I guess everyone wanted an image of him catching the football on the "Philly Special" or perhaps something with the now famous photo of Foles with his infant daughter. On the previous list from last year (from March 1, 2017-Feb. 28), Foles was at No. 22, so we should have seen this coming. Wentz held steady at No. 3, despite the injury and missing the Super Bowl.

Here’s every Eagle on the new list with their ranking on the last in parenthesis:

1. Nick Foles (22)
3. Carson Wentz (3) 
13. Zach Ertz (17)
33. Alshon Jeffery (43)
34. Brandon Graham (N/A)
46. Fletcher Cox (N/A)

The only Eagles player to drop out of the top 50 is Jay Ajayi (45), who is entering the final year of his current contract.

It’ll be interesting to see how long Foles can stay at or near the top of the list, especially if he starts the season on the bench. But based on the way most Eagles fans have celebrated the win in Super Bowl LII, Foles merchandise isn’t going out of fashion anytime soon.

More on the Eagles

Roob Knows: Reminding you how good Carson Wentz is

AP Images

Roob Knows: Reminding you how good Carson Wentz is

On the latest edition of Roob Knows, Reuben Frank reminds fans of how good Carson Wentz is; despite the magical run from Nick Foles, don't forget about Wentz. Alshon Jeffery's impact goes well beyond his statistics. An unbelievable stat on Zach Ertz. And why Brian Dawkins is a truly unique athlete in Philadelphia sports history.

2:00 - Don't forget how good Carson Wentz is.
4:30 - Alshon Jeffery's value.
9:30 - Unbelievable Zach Ertz stat.
13:00 - Brian Dawkins' route to the Hall of Fame.
18:00 - Dawkins is a unique Philly sports figure because everyone adores him.

Subscribe and rate Roob Knows: Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Art19