Tight end Zach Ertz is looking to build off of his breakout performance last Sunday against Arizona. The team's second-round pick hauled in five catches for a career-high 68 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Ertz caused damage in the tight confines of the red zone as well as a downfield receiver. His first touchdown was a 6-yard reception which left him one-on-one with defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who had no chance as the right side of the field was cleared out thanks to a beautiful play design. The second touchdown showcased Ertz's athleticism. Lined up in the slot, Ertz ran a corner-post route and safety Rashad Johnson was unable to man up and prevent the 24-yard strike.
"I've had a big impact the past couple of weeks and hopefully it continues," said Ertz, who has 26 catches for 342 yards and three touchdowns this season. "Everybody says the big difference is the speed of the game and I think the game's kind of slowed down for me."
Cornerback Brandon Boykin is not surprised by Ertz's success. He's noticed Ertz honing his craft in practice.
"You can see him working on his fundamentals every day, practicing fast and it carries over to Sunday where it's second nature," Boykin said. "He's a mismatch wherever he lines up. He's not really just a tight end. He's fast. He's tall. He has the ability to catch as good as a receiver."
Safety Nate Allen agreed with Boykin in that Ertz's physical attributes make him tough to defend.
"He's a good athlete. He's got great size. He's strong. He uses his body well and he's got great hands," Allen said. "Like you saw (against Arizona), he causes a problem for people. When you've got a tight end who can get open like him, he can get away from defensive backs, it's a positive."
Ertz's outstanding day earned him a nomination for Pepsi Next Rookie of the Week honors. You can vote for him here as the poll closes Friday at 3 p.m.