FOXBOROUGH, Mass. --It was just a single catch, one that gained just 5 yards, and so in the context of what Zach Ertz has already accomplished in his three-year NFL career, it was nothing remarkable. But those 5 yards meant a touchdown, Ertz' first of the 2015 season, so in that vein it meant so much more than one reception.
After missing the loss in Detroit with a concussion, Ertz rebounded with a leaping, twisting catch on a pass thrown by quarterback Sam Bradford to cap an 8-play, 59-yard drive with 10 minutes, 56 seconds elapsed in the second quarter of Sunday's 35-28 win at Gillette Stadium.
The Eagles were reeling at the time, trailing 14-0. And they had been struggling all season in the red zone, ranking 22nd at the time in touchdown efficiency inside opponents' 20-yard lines. On third-and-4 from the 5, Bradford threw into the end zone for Ertz, which had not been a successful strategy this season. Four times Bradford had been picked on throws into the end zone, including attempts to Ertz against Dallas and the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. Twice, in games against Washington and Miami, touchdown passes to Ertz were called back because of illegal-formation penalties.
"It is the first on the stat sheet, so that's good," Ertz said. "It's been a little frustrating, having some taken away and not making the plays down there when I needed to and not getting my number called, but I've got a lot of faith in this (coaching) staff and in Sam that my number was going to be called and I made the play tonight."
Bradford tossed two touchdown passes and the Eagles were a perfect 2-of-2 in the red zone -- he also threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Matthews -- as the Eagles won a rare game at Gillette Stadium and ended a three-game losing streak.
"It was a great win. We hear the noise and all the negativity surrounding us, but at the same time it doesn't change our mindset a bit," Ertz said. "To go out and beat this team maybe silences the doubters a little but, we're still going to have this huge chip on our shoulders."
Ertz was also involved in an onsides kick late in the game and he was unable to handle the kick that bounced right into his hands and gave New England some life. The Patriots went down the field and scored a touchdown, making the final score closer than perhaps it should have been.
"I just tried to get the ball and get down a little too fast, I think," Ertz said. "I took my eye off the ball a little bit. The coaching staff has put a lot of faith in me to make that play and I make that play 99 out of 100 times. I'm going to make that play the next time."
A look back at some of the key players against New England that helped lead the Eagles to victory. View the full gallery here...