Kirk Cousins used to give the Eagles fits, winning four straight games against them from 2015-16 when Cousins quarterbacked the Washington Redskins, some of those wins crafted in the crunch time of the fourth quarter.
Of course, Cousins is no longer in Washington after leaving for Minnesota in free agency.
The Redskins’ great tormentor, however, is still around. That is Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.
Ertz has been tormenting just about every team he has gone against this season and is rewriting the team’s record books and positioning himself to have one of the greatest seasons of any tight end in NFL history.
Washington, which will play at Lincoln Financial field on Monday Night Football, has been one of Ertz’s punching bags since entering the league out of Stanford as the 35th player taken overall in 2013.
In 10 career games against the Redskins, Ertz 59 has catches for 620 yards (10.5 yards per catch). Three times he has topped 10 catches and 100 yards, with 15 for 115 in 2014, 13 for 122 in 2015, and 10 for 112 in 2016.
Primarily because of Cousins, however, the Ertz and the Eagles are 5-5 in those games. The Eagles need to lift that mark above .500 in order to keep alive its hopes of winning the NFC East and making another run for a Super Bowl.
Ertz will need to be a big contributor to make that happen.
He has been all season, really.
Ertz leads the Eagles this season in catches with 84, yards with 895, and touchdowns with six, all of which have come in the red zone. His catches and yardage totals are both career highs. He is on pace for 122 catches, 1,301 yards and eight TDs.
The most catches by a tight end in NFL history is 110 by Jason Witten in 2012. Only three tight ends have topped 100 catches in an NFL season. In addition to Witten, the others were Tony Gonzalez (102 in 2004) and Dallas Clark (100 in 2009).
Only five tight ends have had 1,200 yards in a season: Rob Gronkowski (1,327, 2011), Jimmy Graham, who did it twice with 1,310 in 2011 and 1,215 in 2013, Kellen Winslow, Sr. (1,290, 1980), Gonzalez,, who also did it twice in 2004 with 1,258 and in 2000 with 1,203, and Todd Christensen (1,247, 1983).
Already, Ertz has broken the Eagles record for most tight ends in a season by a tight end which was set by Keith Jackson with 81 in 1988.
“He's a big guy and he's got excellent play strength, a really good catch radius and strong hands,” said Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh. “So he can catch it away from his body, and even in those tight spaces like you talk about, he's able to create a little bit more space for himself by using his body and his length.”