Despite all the attention he received on Sunday, Zach Ertz still had nine catches for 94 yards against the Patriots in the Eagles’ 17-10 loss.
But the Patriots felt like they did a pretty good job on the Eagles’ Pro Bowl tight end.
And their top cornerback, Stephon Gilmore said he saw some frustration come from Ertz during the game. NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry noted that after a third down play late in the third quarter, Ertz seemed to be pleading with an official for a call.
He was crying," Gilmore said, via NBC Sports Boston. "He do that on film a lot. If you get into him. If he don't get the ball or he don't get a call, he'll cry. But he's a good receiver. He's a good tight end. He's a great player . . . He's a great player, but when he don't get his way, he'll complain to the ref. But who don't do that?
To be fair, a lot of great players complain to the officials. It can be annoying for opposing teams and fans to watch, but they do it because they sometimes get calls. Even if it doesn’t happen right then, maybe they get a makeup call later in the game.
On Sunday, the Patriots’ game plan for Ertz was pretty clear, although Ertz was a little surprised he wasn’t doubled more.
Basically, Ertz was either covered by Gilmore or was doubled.
Ertz’s nine catches are the most against the Patriots this season and his 94 yards are the second-most they’ve given up. But the Patriots did control him for most of the afternoon. Through three quarters, Ertz had six catches for 37 yards.
“I felt like we had a pretty good feel as the game got going,” Ertz said. “Obviously, you can game plan during the week. ‘I feel like they’re going to do this’ or ‘I feel like they’re going to do that.’ But once the game started, the first, second drive, I kind of knew the plan they had for me. I feel like I played alright. I’ve got to watch the film. Just extremely disappointed with that second-to-last drive.”
On that second-to-last drive Ertz was talking about, he was targeted twice and those were the only two targets on which he didn’t have catches. Both came in a series of four straight incompletions from Carson Wentz from the Patriots’ 26-yard line. On one, Wentz just threw a bad pass. On the other, Ertz felt like he needed to be more “definitive” in his option route.
Ertz is four inches taller and 48 pounds heavier than Gilmore, but Gilmore is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Bill Belichick game plans every week to take away his opponents’ best player and that meant giving Ertz a lot of attention.
It’s impressive that Ertz was still able to put up the numbers he did despite all that attention, but the Patriots still got a win and didn’t let Ertz beat them.
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