PHILADELPHIA — After his team had suffered yet another loss today, Eagles coach Andy Reid trudged toward the tunnel leading to the locker rooms at Lincoln Financial Field.
Just before he reached the entrance, a few hundred Eagles fans who had congregated in that section of the bleachers started clapping and chanting his name.
Barring a change of heart by owner Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles’ 27-20 loss to Washington was Reid’s last home game as the Philadelphia head coach.
“I don’t know that,” Reid said. “But I understand the situation and I appreciate everything. We’ve got great fans. They stayed, they were into the game and I thought the guys gave them something to cheer about. But the bottom line is that we have to finish the game and win it. It’s unacceptable to lose the game.”
The Eagles (4-11) came close to at least forcing overtime but fell 5 yards and 1 second short.
With the Redskins leading by a touchdown, Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles appeared ready to reprise the last-minute comeback that he staged in Tampa on Dec. 9. Starting from the Philadelphia 15-yard line this time, he methodically marched the offense down the field, but the Eagles failed to capitalize on a pair of scoring opportunities that would have tied the game.
Foles’ 17-yard pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in the end zone bounced on the turf about a foot in front of the receiver with 18 seconds left. Two plays later, Foles fired a short pass from the 5-yard line that hit new tight end Evan Moore in the chest and dropped for an incompletion with 8 seconds to go.
“It was a great pass,” said Moore, who just joined the team last Wednesday. “He hit me right in the numbers. I’ve got to catch that ball. I can’t really explain why it happened, but I’ve got to catch that ball.”
Foles took another shotgun snap from center Dallas Reynolds with 8 seconds to go and scanned the field for a receiver. No one was open. With Redskins defenders bearing down on him, Foles tried to stop the clock by throwing the ball away. His pass hit the turf at the 6-yard line with 1 second showing on the clock, but because his throw did not reach the line of scrimmage, Foles was called for intentional grounding and the game was ruled over.
The defeat left the Eagles with a 2-6 record at the Linc this season. The last time the team won two or fewer home games was in 1986, when the Eagles went 2-5-1 at Veterans Stadium under then-rookie coach Buddy Ryan.
“It hurts to come that close to winning and not get it done,” tight end Brent Celek said. “If things go a little bit differently, we’re not even in that position (of having to win in the last few seconds). We just have to learn how to finish.”
The Eagles started better than they finished.
Foles’ 27-yard touchdown pass to Maclin on the opening drive marked just the second time this season the Eagles have reached the end zone on their first series.
And they held onto the lead for a while but couldn’t hold off a hungry Redskins (9-6) team that is in contention to win the NFC East. Quarterback Robert Griffin III, back in the lineup after sitting out one game with a knee injury, threw two touchdown passes in helping Washington get its sixth straight victory.
“Six (straight) wins feels good,” wide receiver Santana Moss said. “But we still have another game to play (against Dallas next Sunday) and we have not accomplished our goals until we get to the Super Bowl and win it. We have to keep playing well if we want to accomplish great things.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles have nothing to play for in next Sunday’s season finale against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium other than pride.
Some time after the game, Reid will meet with Lurie and discuss his fate. He is expected to be fired, thus ending a 14-year tenure with the Eagles.
“I don’t want to talk about Coach Reid getting fired because I’m hoping it won’t happen,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “I don’t see any coaches as good as coach Reid. He’s been here for so long, respect is demanded.”
Contact David Weinberg: