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Ertz Tied Cardinals Franchise Record in Only 11 Games

Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz was the team's leading receiver since getting traded in October.

Tight end Zach Ertz led the Cardinals in receptions after he joined the team in October. 

Arizona traded a 2022 fifth-round pick and cornerback Tay Gowan to the Philadelphia Eagle for Ertz to join what was a crowded arsenal at the time. 

Injuries have largely diminished that vaunted group of weapons in the second half of the season, especially All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. 

Ertz has taken over as Arizona's safety net, finding success getting open over the middle. 

On Sunday, a 38-30 loss for Arizona against the Seahawks, Ertz led the team with seven receptions for 84 yards while having an average of 3.09 yards of separation, per Next Gen Stats. 

On his seventh catch, Ertz reached 56 this season since getting traded. That tied a franchise record for tight ends set by Hall of Famer Jackie Smith in 1967. Smith reached that mark in 14 games for the St. Louis Cardinals. Ertz did it in 11 contests. 

"I've said all along throughout my career, when I'm in the moment, I'll focus on what's going on," Ertz said postgame on Sunday. 

"It's always how can I be better? How can I improve? When I'm done playing, there will be a time of reflection and focus on what we've accomplished. And it really is a testament to the guys around me. It's not about me. I didn't do this by myself."

The most catches by a Cardinals tight end since moving to Arizona was set by Freddie Jones in 2003 (55). 

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Ertz had to learn the offense quickly. He had some extra days since he played on Thursday Night Football for the Eagles in Week 6 before getting traded on that Friday. 

He told reporters that his wife, renowned soccer player Julie Ertz, quizzed him on the playbook and that quarterback Kyler Murray sat with him on the plane ride to Cleveland in Week 6. 

He made an impact immediately, catching a 47-yard touchdown pass in his first game. 

“He is great," Murray said after Ertz's first game in Week 7. "He had a quick week, but he learned it quickly. I think we helped him out a lot as far as signals and all that stuff and knowing where to be."

The Cardinals have a lot of uncertainty offensively going into the playoffs. 

Running back Chase Edmonds did not practice nor play last week with a ribs/toe injury designation, and James Conner hurt his ribs during Sunday's game. Hopkins remains on injured reserve with a knee injury, and receiver Rondale Moore has missed three games because of an ankle injury. 

Playing on Monday could help Arizona get some players healthy before taking on the Los Angeles Rams. 

But having Ertz provides a consistent  presence on an offense that has had very little stability in the second half of the year. His role during the playoffs, especially as someone with Super Bowl experience, could be invaluable. 

"When we play our best football, we can beat anyone," Ertz said. "Based on what I've seen, obviously, it's been a little inconsistent as of late, but I feel like when we're playing at a high level in all three phases, we have a chance to beat anyone in this league."