Before the Eagles faced the Falcons, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was ready to prove himself. He wanted his high-priced defensive line to show it was worth the money, and he wanted to lead the way.
Cox barely left the field on Saturday.
And he dominated.
"Me taking a lot of snaps, I get in a whole lot of rhythm," Cox said on Wednesday. "I think that affected my play and everybody else just followed.
"I just said to myself, 'Go out and take over the game and everybody else will follow.' I think it kind of rubbed off on them."
The Eagles' Pro Bowl defensive tackle finished the divisional round game with seven combined tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits. He led the way for the Eagles' defense in the 15-10 win.
Cox was an absolute game-wrecker.
"He was a man on a mission and just took a lot of it upon himself and got the rest of the D-line going a little bit," head coach Doug Pederson said.
The Eagles went into Saturday's game with just three defensive tackles active. While Tim Jernigan (29 snaps) and Beau Allen (26 snaps) played 46 and 41 percent, respectively, Cox played 57 of 63 snaps (90 percent).
Cox knew he was going to play a ton in that game. He was well-rested after the long layoff and was ready for his second career playoff game.
"I was super excited," Cox said. "I wasn't coming off the field. I think I played 57 snaps. I wasn't tired. Beau always asks me how you do it. I just find a way."
The Eagles' $100 million man needs to find a way to do it again.
On Wednesday, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer called Cox an "outstanding player," but Zimmer has some pretty impressive players on his defense too. The Vikings have the top-ranked defense in the NFL with an impressive defensive line that features pass-rusher Everson Griffen and big veteran tackle Linval Joseph.
"I think in order for us to win this game, man, our defense is going to have to play really good," Cox said. "We know — and everybody else knows — I think this game is going to be one possession. We gotta get some takeaways on defense.
"But at the end of the day, it's going to come down to is our D-line better than theirs? I mean, they got a dominant D-line, we have a dominant D-line. And we'll see who shows up on Sunday."
This week, the Eagles are back on their disrespect kick. For the second straight playoff game, they're going to be home underdogs as the No. 1 seed. They used it as fuel before the Atlanta game and they're going to use it as fuel as they get ready for the Vikings.
There are going to be a bunch of dog masks inside the Linc on Sunday.
"At the end of the day, respect is not given," Cox said. "We have to go take it like we've been doing all year. We're ready to go out and dominate."