'Burn the ships!': Zach Ertz's speech sets tone for Eagles' playoff push

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Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was unavailable to speak with the media following Sunday's 17-9 win against the Dallas Cowboys, a victory that put Philadelphia in the driver's seat in the NFC East. He had injured his ribs in the game, and exited the locker room promptly to get treatment postgame.

No matter. His message had already been delivered the night before, during a speech at the hotel as the Eagles gathered for one final meeting before the biggest game of their season. Looking to get them in the right frame of mind, Ertz stood up in front of his peers and told the story of Hernan Cortes, a Spanish conquistador from the 1500s.

"Cortes, when he was invading Mexico, man, told his soldiers to burn the ships behind them, the reason being, there is no Plan B. There's only Plan A, and that's to get the job done," said guard Brandon nike nfl jerseys wholesale

"He gave the story, talking about burning the boats and having no choice but to compete and win. Either you survive or you go home," added safety Malcolm Jenkins. "That's the situation that we're in."6

The Eagles, facing elimination against the Cowboys on Sunday, entered as 2 1/2-point underdogs. Carson Wentz (31-of-40, 319 yards, TD) played one of his best games in arguably the biggest start of his career while working alongside several players who were on the practice squad to start the season. The Eagles' defense put the clamps on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (13 carries, 47 yards) and wide receiver Amari Cooper (4 catches, 24 yards), while holding the NFL's No. 1 offense to three field goals.

Philadelphia has won three straight to salvage the season and set up a trip to the postseason -- so long as they take care of business against the New York Giants on Sunday. This is nothing new. They bounced back from a 5-7 start last season and responded with four straight wins, including a wild-card victory over the Chicago Bears, before being narrowly defeated by the Saints in the divisional round.

"This is the team that when their back is against the wall, they come out swinging and fighting," coach Doug Pederson said. "Whatever it takes. Sometimes it's not pretty and it doesn't have to be."china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Ertz has been a source of consistency in an up-and-down season. He entered with 84 catches, the second most among tight ends behind Kansas City's Travis Kelce. It was expected that Wentz would rely heavily on him against the Cowboys, but Ertz took a direct shot to the ribs early in the game from safety Xavier Woods. He was forced to the locker room before eventually returning and finished with a modest four catches for 28 yards. Players stepped up in his absence, including his counterpart Dallas Goedert, who had nine catches for 91 yards and a TD.

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