Swan Song: Eagles Comeback Falls Short in What Could be Andy Reid’s Last Game in Philly

24 Dec
Eagles head coach Andy Reid leading the Eagles in what could be his final game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Eagles head coach Andy Reid leading the Eagles in what could be his final game at Lincoln Financial Field. Photo by Webster Riddick.

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report

In what was supposedly the final home game for head coach Andy Reid, the Eagles 27-20 loss to the Washington Redskins was a reflection of the promise and ultimately the disappointment of a season that had higher expectations than their current 4-11 mark.

The Eagles started off well taking a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the first quarter, but then shot themselves in the foot with turnovers, penalties and a general lack of execution that put them in a two-touchdown hole.  To their credit, the Birds made a game of it until the bitter end, but came up short.

“We’ve been fighting back, but it’s always at the wrong time,” said defensive end Brandon Graham. “It’s been a rough year.”

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles played a better game against the Redskins than he did back in November, passing for 345 yards and one touchdown on 32-of-45 passing. But Foles had an interception and a fumble that stopped a couple of Eagles drives and led to points for the Redskins.

“I have to eliminate mistakes,” Foles said. “I fumbled and threw an interception. It’s the quarterback’s job to make sure that we get more points on the board than the other team and I didn’t do my job today.”

Defensively, the Eagles slowed down Robert Griffin III a little bit. The former Baylor star completed 16-of-24 passes for 193 yards with an interception and two touchdown passes including a 22-yarder to Santana Moss that put the Eagles in a 27-13 hole late in the third quarter from which they would never escape.

The Birds  had chances late in the game to score the game-tying touchdown to send the game into overtime, but couldn’t pull it off.

They came close.

Nick Foles last pass resulted in an intentional grounding penalty that ended a painful loss to the Redskins. Photo by Webster Riddick.

Nick Foles last pass resulted in an intentional grounding penalty that ended a painful loss to the Redskins. Photo by Webster Riddick.

With 23 seconds left in the game, Foles short-hopped a pass to a wide-open Jeremy Maclin, who beat two Redskins defenders in the corner of the end zone. Three plays later, the game ended when Foles was called for intentional grounding with one-second left. The penalty resulted in a run-off of time that ended the game.

“I think the Redskins got 10 points off two turnovers, something like that,” Maclin said. “It’s the same thing over and over again. I think we moved the ball and we showed how good this offense could be, it’s just that we came up short.”

Oddly enough, as Reid came off the field, he was met with some fans standing and cheering for him and of course, there was a smattering of boos in the background. But for the most part, it was more of an apathetic silence from the fans who are simply waiting for a bad season to end.

“Coach is one of the best coaches to ever coach, still is,” said Eagles tight end Brent Celek. “Hopefully, he’s back, but that’s someone’s decision.”

Eagles players were disappointed with the loss and seemed to be determined to come back next weekend against the New York Giants to win with for their embattled head coach who many expect to be let go at the end of the season.

“We knew this was the last home-game of the year and we wanted to make sure we go out of there and get a “W.” That’s what we talked about before the game,” Graham said. “I’m hoping things can work out for Coach Reid here, but if not I wish him well. I wish him the best.”

Maclin hinted that he would like to see Reid come back for another crack at turning things around for the Eagles in 2013.

“He’s a great guy, a phenomenal coach for what he teaches and what he preaches,” Maclin said. “The last two years haven’t been what we’ve wanted them to be, but at the end of the day that doesn’t mean he can’t turn it around the following season. We’ll see.”

With the season ending against the archrival New York Giants, Maclin said a win in the season-finale would be a positive cap on an otherwise bad season for the Eagles. He said the team was upset not just for their coach, but for the organization and for the fans.

“I think the season as a whole has been frustrating and disappointing,” Maclin said. “We’re not looking at it as being anybody’s last home game, being another game and going out there and take care of business. So for the whole organization, we wanted to get this win, but we came up short.”

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