LANDOVER, Maryland – Keep on dancing, Fletcher Cox.
The Pro Bowl defensive tackle likes to celebrate quarterback sacks and big plays with a little dancing on the field, you've no doubt noticed, and he's got something pretty good going these days. Maybe Dancing With the Stars will take notice and give Cox something, uh, different to do in the offseason, but for now Cox is happy that the rest of the league is taking note: The man is on a tear, not to mention a mission.
Cox had three quarterback sacks in Sunday's 24-0 destruction of the Washington Redskins, part of a four-sack effort and a defensive performance that limited Washington to a measly 89 total net yards in the Eagles' first shutout since the 2014 season. Cox has a career-high 10.5 quarterback sacks with 6.5 of them coming in the last five games.
He's been dominating.
"We kind of had to lift up the entire defense, our line as a group, and that's what we did," Cox said. "Things just clicked for us. We knew we had a lot of new players in the secondary, a lot of injuries. We found a way. We have a winning mentality and we just need to keep punching.
"I feel good about our defensive line. We've got a lot of guys who have played a lot of football in big moments. I've said this all along that this defensive line is like the engine of the team. This D-line is what drives this team. One more notch, man. One more notch for the postseason."
It hasn't been the least bit easy for the defensive line, having lost end Derek Barnett from the four-man rotation and then losing rookie end Josh Sweat, both to injuries that ended their seasons. Tackle Tim Jernigan is just now rounding into shape after missing most of the season recovering from his offseason surgery.
As the Eagles enter the postseason, the defensive line is roaring. Brandon Graham, Michael Bennett, and Chris Long are rotating on the edges, and Cox, Jernigan, Haloti Ngata, and Treyvon Hester are taking quality snaps at tackle.
It's all working beautifully.
"We've had a chance to work together and know each other and play off each other's strengths," Bennett said. "It feels good up there. It feels like we're getting off the ball, getting to the quarterback, doing a good job against the run. We just have to keep pushing. It's the playoffs. I've come to expect being there in my career."
Said Cox: "We always like to be the spark. In order to be a good team defensively, you have to first stop the run. We did that today (Washington gained just 12 rushing yards, averaging 1.8 yards per attempt). We had a lot of fun, had tackles for loss, and we're fighting."
Fighting, yes, all the way to the playoffs with the defensive line leading the way.
Check out the best photos from the Eagles' Week 17 game against Washington.