Redskins dump Eagles in what may be Reid's home finale
Published: Monday, December 24, 2012
By BOB GROTZ
PHILADELPHIA — In a year of unusual losses, it figured Eagles head coach Andy Reid would be shorted his final second Sunday, his last chance to go out a winner at home, his last ounce of green to bleed.
Each week seems to bring another indignity for Big Red.
This time referee Ed Hochuli and his crew ruled that Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles failed to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage while throwing it away at the five-yard line of the Washington Redskins with one tick remaining. The rule is something quarterbacks and coaches talk about during film sessions.
The Redskins began celebrating their sixth straight victory, a 27-20 decision giving them a sweep of the Eagles while Hochuli went into his intentional grounding explanation, including the 10-second runoff.
It was a long walk to the tunnel for Reid and his players, who have won just one of their last 11 games and are 4-11 with one road date remaining against the New York Giants.
“That one hurt more than a lot of them because of the way we lost it,” Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “The penalty makes it sting a little bit.”
Truth be told, Reid’s clock management wasn’t much better than the judgment of Foles, who two plays before the penalty bounced what would have been at least a tying — and maybe a winning — touchdown pass to a wide-open Jeremy Maclin.
In all fairness, Foles gutted out the second half with a sore throwing hand that wasn’t broken — at least according to that crazy X-ray machine they have at Lincoln Financial Field.
Instead of giving himself a chance to throw another dramatic game-winning pass, Foles blew up basically because he held the ball too long before ditching it. He was in that spot partly because he turned the ball over twice leading to 10 Redskins points earlier in the day.
“We said in that situation the clock is the most important thing and it’s just one of those things where initially I didn’t feel like anything was open so I was just trying to make a play,” said Foles, who threw for 345 yards and one touchdown on the afternoon. “I just have to be smarter and make sure it gets past the line of scrimmage. It’s on me.”
If the explanation leaves you wanting, imagine how it’s going to sound to the next head coach of the Eagles, assuming owner Jeffrey Lurie moves on from Reid. There was at least one unconfirmed report Reid’s exit wasn’t a done deal. The Big Guy has one year left on his contract.
Truth be told, there’s so much spin out there it’s prudent to report only the obvious. Reid acknowledged the fans who, out of respect for his 140-101-1 record in 14 seasons, chanted his name as he exited.
“We have great fans,” Reid said. “I’ve always said that we’re on the same page. When you stink, they let you know you stink. And when you’re doing good, they’re going to let you know you’re doing good. I get it. I understand. I understand the situation. I appreciate everything.”
Foles completed 32 of 48 attempts with the touchdown and one interception.
Robert Griffin III threw for 198 yards, two TDs and one pick despite playing on a sore knee for the Redskins (9-6).
The Eagles completed the season with a 2-6 record at home, their worst since Marion Campbell guided them to a 1-7 home slate in 1983.
The Eagles had their chances to write another script.
In the final minute of play Sunday, on third-and-two, Maclin beat safety Madieu Williams in the end zone, but Foles’ pass bounced to him.
On fourth down, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who had 13 rushes for 45 yards and caught nine passes for 77 yards, got the first down and got out of bounds at the five-yard line with 11 seconds left.
On the next play Foles fired a pass that bounced off the hands of newly signed tight end Evan Moore at the goal line.
“I think I would have had a chance,” Moore said. “I think I probably would have been able to back my way in or something. But I didn’t catch the ball. It was a great ball. Hit me right on the numbers. I’ve just got to catch it.”
Foles completed 14 of 22 passes in the first half, including a post-card-perfect 27-yard scoring bomb to Maclin.
Foles also converted on fourth down, including two fourth-and-shorts on the opening possession when he marched the Eagles 76 yards in 11 plays, capping it with the deep lob to Maclin.
But Foles later lost a fumble and was intercepted, the turnovers setting up a touchdown and a field goal that helped the Redskins take a 13-10 lead into the intermission.
Griffin barely worked up sweat with a conservative game plan designed to protect his right knee. Griffin completed eight of 13 attempts, including an 11-yard touchdown to Josh Morgan.
The Eagles limited the Redskins, who entered the day tops in the league in rushing, to 48 yards on 14 lugs in the first half.
On the first possession of the third quarter, Griffin connected with Pierre Garcon for 29 yards and Niles Paul for 19 yards to set up a 10-yard scoring run by Alfred Morris to give the Redskins a 20-10 lead.
With 1:31 remaining in the third quarter, Griffin gave the Redskins a two-touchdown lead with a laser-guided 22-yard scoring pass to Santana Moss at the edge of the end zone.
Just when the Eagles looked like they would go quietly safety Colt Anderson grabbed a tipped Griffin pass to kick-start the crowd. It was the Eagles’ first interception in nine games. Or, to be specific, their first pick in 38 quarters.
Six plays and 61 yards later, Dion Lewis cruised 17 yards up the middle to pull the Birds within 27-20 with 8:55 left.
But it just wasn’t meant to be for Reid.
“If this is going to be his last game,” defensive end Brandon Graham said of the Giants game, “let’s go out here and try to win this last game for Coach Reid.”
Washington 0 13 14 0— 27
Philadelphia 7 3 3 7—20
Phi_Maclin 27 pass from Foles (Henery kick), 10:09.
Was_FG Forbath 45, 11:25.
Was_FG Forbath 42, 7:37.
Was_Morgan 11 pass from Griffin III (Forbath kick), 3:30.
Phi_FG Henery 38, :18.
Was_Morris 10 run (Forbath kick), 12:33.
Phi_FG Henery 30, 8:01.
Was_Moss 22 pass from Griffin III (Forbath kick), 1:31.
Phi_Lewis 17 run (Henery kick), 8:55.
Was / Phi
First downs 18 / 25
Total Net Yards 313 / 411
Rushes-yards 28-128 / 22-90
Passing 185 / 321
Punt Returns 1-20 / 1-10
Kickoff Returns 3-56 / 4-74
Interceptions Ret. 1-9 / 1-4
Comp-Att-Int 16-24-1 / 32-48-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-13 / 5-24
Punts 2-43.0 / 2-43.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 / 1-1
Penalties-Yards 3-24 / 4-30
Time of Possession 29:23 / 30:37
RUSHING_Washington, Morris 22-91, Royster 2-14, Moss 1-12, Morgan 1-7, Griffin III 2-4. Philadelphia, McCoy 13-45, Brown 4-18, Lewis 1-17, Foles 4-10.
PASSING_Washington, Griffin III 16-24-1-198. Philadelphia, Foles 32-48-1-345.
RECEIVING_Washington, Garcon 7-89, Moss 2-26, Morgan 2-21, Paul 1-21, Morris 1-17, Hankerson 1-10, Cooley 1-8, Paulsen 1-6. Philadelphia, McCoy 9-77, Maclin 8-116, Avant 8-70, Celek 3-39, D.Johnson 3-25, Cooper 1-18.
MISSED FIELD GOALS_None.
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Posted 24 December 2012 - 09:00 AM