EAGLE EYE IN THE SKY
BY FRAN DUFFY
When the Eagles fell to the Miami Dolphins in Week 13, tight end Zach Ertz took
responsibility for the loss after a couple of drops in the game that could have turned the
tide. How did the veteran respond the next week? By leading the team with nine catches
for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns, the game-tying and game-winning scores, against
the New York Giants.
I want to focus on the game-tying touchdown from quarterback Carson Wentz. It came on
a staple play that the Eagles have been running since 2016, particularly in “got to have it”
situations (third down, fourth down, and in the low red zone).
2019 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES GAMEDAY MAGAZINE 29
Fran Duffy is the host of the Eagle Eye in the Sky
podcast, fueled by Gatorade, an Official Eagles
Entertainment podcast. Download new episodes weekly.
The Eagles typically get to this play out of a 13
personnel set, which means there are three tight
ends on the field. On this play, Joshua Perkins lines
up outside, with Dallas Goedert lined up inside, next
to the offensive tackle. This puts Ertz smack in the
middle of them as the “No. 2” receiver.
This play calls for a slant route from Ertz. The only
defender (outside of the one covering Ertz) who can
impact this throw is the free safety. To hold him in the
middle of the field, the Eagles run a play-action fake
to that side. The threat of a jump ball to rookie J.J.
Arcega-Whiteside is also present as well, giving the
safety more to think about before the snap. These two
factors keep him to that side of the field, and away
from the area the Eagles intend to attack.
The ball is snapped, and this is how the routes
develop. Everything is condensed in the red zone, so
finding room for receivers to work can be difficult.
This concept takes care of that. By sending Perkins to
the pylon and Goedert on a quick in-breaking route, a
void is instantly created in the end zone. Ertz is going
to run right into it with just one defender to beat.
Ertz can run this route in his sleep. He’s so good at it,
and Wentz trusts him to get open. The veteran tight
end comes through, crossing the defender’s face and
coming away with the score to tie the game late in the