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Zach Ertz Has Welcome To Arizona Moment With Touchdown Catch

New tight end makes big plays in debut during Cardinals' win over Texans

Tight end Zach Ertz gets into the end zone for his first Cardinals' touchdown in a 31-5 win over the Texans Sunday.
Tight end Zach Ertz gets into the end zone for his first Cardinals' touchdown in a 31-5 win over the Texans Sunday.

Zach Ertz made his anticipated Cardinals debut Sunday at State Farm Stadium and impressed in the Cardinals' 31-5 victory over the Texans.

Ertz had a handful of highlights, including a one-handed catch from quarterback Kyler Murray that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

"It was good," Ertz said. "It was fun to win a football game and be a part of this culture and team environment."

In another balanced display in the passing attack, Ertz chipped in with three receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. The score came early in the third quarter when Murray found the wide-open tight end cutting across the field. Ertz made the catch and sprinted the rest of the way for a 47-yard touchdown.

It was the longest TD reception of Ertz's career, topping a 35-yarder he had in 2014 while playing for the Eagles. It also made Ertz the first player in NFL history to have a touchdown catch for two different teams in back-to-back games in a season. Ertz had a touchdown in his final game as an Eagles before being traded to the Cardinals.

Running back Pete Johnson is the only other player to score touchdowns for different teams in back-to-back weeks when he rushed for a TD with the Chargers and then the Dolphins in 1984.

Ertz credited the high level supporting cast of receivers around him that allowed him to get wide open.

"We have a lot of talent," Ertz said. "I've never seen so much green grass in the middle of the field and that's gonna happen with guys like DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green on the outside."

Hopkins led the team in receptions in his first matchup against his former team, with 53 yards and a touchdown, which officially gave him a reception against every team in the NFL. Green added 66 yards on three catches.

Hopkins said even though someone like him and Green command extra attention, having an elite pass-catcher like Ertz opens their already explosive offense.

"He brings a down-the-field presence to the team," Hopkins said. "Maxx (Williams) and those guys are good, but Zach is a Pro Bowl tight end. So, to be able to have that presence in the field helps out a lot."

It wasn't perfect. Murray and Ertz had a chance to hook up for a touchdown earlier in the game, but seemed not on the same page and the throw was incomplete. Later in the game, Murray threw his first interception since week Three at Jacksonville while looking to connect with Ertz.

Ertz took the blame for the interception and said he had to work on such things with Murray. Murray, asked about the pick, also took the blame.

But those things will get ironed out as Ertz builds practice time.

"He was great," Murray said. "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. He did well today, obviously he scored today so it was a good day for him."