LANDOVER, Md. — That thud you heard on Sunday afternoon was the sound of the Philadelphia Eagles hitting the rock-hard bottom of the NFC East.
They left no doubt that they are the worst team in the division, suffering an embarrassing 31-6 loss to Washington at FedEx Field.
The Eagles (3-7) have dropped six straight, the first time that’s happened since they lost their final seven games in 1994.
New Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie responded to that slump by firing coach Rich Kotite at the end of the year. Barring a miraculous turnaround this season, Andy Reid will meet the same fate in six weeks.
“If I was (in the Eagles’ front office), I sure wouldn’t be happy,” tight end Brent Celek said. “This is our job. This is what we’re supposed to do and we’re failing at it. Losing six straight, it makes me sick. I don’t know if it can get much worse.”
Sunday’s loss was easily the worst of the slump. They struggled against a Redskins team that had also lost six of its first nine games and had dropped three straight.
Billed as a Super Bowl contender before the season, the Eagles are now among the bottom dwellers of the NFC. Only Carolina (2-8), whom the Eagles face next Monday night, has a worse record. The Redskins improved to 4-6.
“I take full responsibility for that,” Reid said. “It’s my fault the way things are going. We didn’t do a good job today, but we are going to keep battling.”
They didn’t show much fight against the Redskins. The Eagles’ defense was horrible, especially the secondary. Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III burned it for four touchdown passes, one shy of the all-time record against the Eagles. He completed 14-of-15 passes for 200 yards and a perfect quarterback efficiency rating of 158.3.
The Redskins became the fourth straight team to score at least 28 points against the Eagles since defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was fired and replaced by Todd Bowles. Sunday’s defeat marked the first time the Eagles have lost four in a row by 13 points or more since 1976.
“It’s extremely disappointing, but we just have to keep fighting, keep believing, and try to turn this thing around,” linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. “We’re not going to quit. We’re aren’t laying down and saying it’s over. That’s not what we do. We’re professionals and it’s our job to keep playing hard and keep fighting, even if we’re only playing for pride.”
The Eagles’ offense was equally inept.
Rookie quarterback Nick Foles got off to a rocky start in his first career start, throwing interceptions in each of the Eagles’ first two possessions. He also fumbled twice, though the Eagles recovered them. The third-round draft pick completed 21-of-46 passes for 204 yards and an efficiency rating of 40.5. The Eagles also lost LeSean McCoy to a concussion in the fourth quarter/
Since taking over for injured Michael Vick last week, Foles has thrown three interceptions and committed four total turnovers in 61/2 quarters.
“It was a tough game,” Foles said. “I didn’t play well at all. But it was just one game. I have to learn from it and get better.”
The Redskins wasted little time in grabbing the momentum.
Foles’ third pass of the game deflected off Celek and was intercepted by cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who returned it 22 yards to the Eagles’ 9-yard line. That set up Griffin’s 6-yard touchdown pass to fullback Darrel Young, who was uncovered in the end zone.
The Eagles’ defense was out of sorts and failed to execute when it was in position to make a play. There wasn’t an Eagles defender within 15 yards of Redskins wide receiver Aldrick Robinson when he caught Griffin’s 49-yard TD pass in the second quarter quarter. Cornerback Brandon Boykin and safety Kurt Coleman were both covering wide receiver Santana Moss, but he somehow caught the ball anyway and tumbled into the end zone for a 61-yard TD in the third period.
“The most frustrating part of this is that we’re beating ourselves,” Coleman said. “I’ve yet to feel like we’ve lined up against a team that just flat out beat us. We’ve just got to continue to work to get better.”
The Eagles’ offense failed to score a touchdown for the second time this season. Place-kicker Alex Henery supplied the only points with a pair of field goals.
As a result, the Eagles’ 25-point margin of defeat was their worst since a 48-22 loss to New Orleans in 2009. The setback was their worst against the Redskins since a 28-3 loss in 1998, coach Ray Rhodes’ final season.
Reid would seem to be on the way to suffering the same fate. Before the regular season began, Lurie made it clear that another mediocre season similar to last year’s 8-8 would not be acceptable. The Eagles now have to win their final seven games just to finish above .500.
“Man, six straight losses,” wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. “I’m in my fifth year and I’ve never witnessed anything like this since I’ve been here. Being on this tear of six straight losses. ... It’s not a good thing.”
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