For tight end Zach Ertz ’13, big games are just big opportunities to shine.
Ertz recorded his first career two-touchdown game, catching the second and third touchdowns of his young career to power the Eagles to a critical 24-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, who had previously won four games in a row. The win allowed the Eagles to keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East. Ertz finished as the Eagles’ leading receiver on the day with five receptions for 68 yards in one of the biggest games of the Eagles’ season thus far.
In the first quarter, Ertz opened the scoring by reeling in a six-yard pass from quarterback Nick Foles to put the Eagles up 7-0. Later in the third quarter, Ertz ran up the seam and caught a pass from Foles between two defenders before breaking the plane for the touchdown and emphatically spiking the ball. Ertz and the Eagles won their fourth straight game and earned the tiebreaker against a likely challenger for an NFC wildcard berth in the Cardinals, who now, like the Eagles, hold a 7-5 record. The Eagles are tied with the Cowboys for the NFC East division lead.
On the other side of the game, Cardinals tight end Jim Dray ’10 caught three passes for 26 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that narrowed the deficit to three points at 24-21 with four minutes remaining. Dray continues to build on the best season of his career, which has seen him record more receiving yards (140) and touchdowns (two) than in his entire three-year career prior to this season (87 receiving yards and zero touchdowns entering the year).
For the Cardinals, running back Stepfan Taylor ’13 again saw action on the field, carrying the ball three times for 15 yards and catching two passes for 45 yards. Taylor has now logged multiple carries in back-to-back games for the second time this season.
The Miami Dolphins officially placed offensive tackle Jonathan Martin ’12 on the non-football injury list, meaning that Martin is no longer eligible to play this season and will no longer count towards the team’s 53-man roster. The Dolphins now also have the flexibility to pay Martin as little or as much of the remainder of his base salary as they want.
Martin, who left the team amidst a bullying scandal several weeks ago, may have played his final snap as a Dolphin as recent reports state that Martin does not desire to return to the team. Likewise, justifiably or not, several Dolphins players have expressed their belief that Martin should have handled the situation better by keeping it in-house and preventing it from coming under national media attention, signaling that the players may no longer welcome Martin as a teammate.
Martin remains under his rookie contract with the Dolphins for two more years, so any potential roster move would most likely come via a trade in the offseason, as the Dolphins would hope to get something in return for Martin. A former second-round pick who could potentially start at either right or left tackle, Martin would normally cost at least a mid-round draft pick for a team that wants to trade for him.
Quarterback Andrew Luck ’12 finished 17 for 32 with 200 passing yards as the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans 22-14 on Sunday. Luck’s performance, however, will not go down as one of his better games of the season. Luck threw an interception and fumbled twice, although the Colts did recover both fumbles.
The win gave the Colts a three-game lead in the AFC South with an 8-4 record as they look to return to the playoffs after earning a wild-card berth and losing in the first round to the Ravens last season.
Contact Michael Peterson at mrpeters ‘at’ stanford.edu.