Say this for Andy Reid, who likely called his last home game as the Philadelphia Eagles' head coach on Sunday: His team, despite being ravaged by injuries, never quit on him.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, that is the hollow silver lining on another Sunday gone awry.
Philadelphia, long out of the postseason chase, gave first-place Washington all it could handle in Week 16. The Redskins stormed back from an early 7-0 deficit to take a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter. But the Eagles closed within 27-20 on a Dion Lewis TD run, then drove all the way to the Washington 5 with eight seconds left on the clock.
There, fittingly, the Eagles faltered. Rookie QB Nick Foles took an intentional grounding penalty on 2nd-and-goal -- an infraction that, since the Eagles were out of timeouts required a 10-second runoff, thus ending the game.
The Redskins moved to 9-6 with the dramatic win and will head into a Week 17 home game against Dallas needing a win for the NFC East title. Philadelphia, on the other hand, is probably already preparing mentally for an offseason of change.
Reid has been the head coach in Philadelphia since 1999, compiling 130 wins and one Super Bowl trip along the way. This year's collapse, however, almost certainly marks the end of the line -- the Eagles have lost 10 of 11 since a 3-1 start, as key starters like Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson (among others) suffered injuries. The writing was on the wall for Reid as early as Week 6, when Philadelphia dropped an overtime game to the Lions.
Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie said that another 8-8 season, matching Philadelphia's disappointing 2011, would not be acceptable for Reid. With just one week left in the season, the Eagles cannot finish any better than 5-11 and they were eliminated from the playoff race several weeks ago.
For their part, Eagles fans -- who have been outspoken in criticizing Reid the last two seasons -- chanted the coach's name after the game. For all the disappointment in Philadelphia lately, Reid did lead the team to six division titles, five conference title games and one Super Bowl in 14 seasons. With one game to go in his Philadelphia stint, Reid has posted a 140-101-1 overall mark.
Sunday also might have been Michael Vick's last shot to play in front of the Philadelphia fans ... and the Eagles made him a healthy scratch for the game. The Eagles owe Vick a $3 million bonus if he's on the roster on Feb. 6, 2013, so odds are that he will be cut before then. Reid's imminent departure probably drives the nail into that coffin.
Vick's arrival in 2009, and ascension to the starting job in 2010, essentially linked his fate in Philadelphia to that of Reid's. No matter what else happened, that duo was expected to lead the Eagles into Super Bowl contention.
They succeeded briefly in 2010, winning the NFC East before falling to Green Bay in the playoffs. Since then, however, it's been mostly downhill.
Sunday's setback was one last disappointing moment for Reid in Philadelphia. The Eagles will close the season next week in New York, against a Giants team that will need a win to make the playoffs. Even if Philadelphia puts forth another solid effort, it will mark a rather unceremonious end to Reid's tenure.