The end of the Redskins’ 34-10 loss to Philadelphia brought a number of indignities. With the season complete at 5-11, Mike Shanahan has the worst single season record in his 17 full seasons as an NFL coach, and his two-year record of 11-21 is one game worse than that of his predecessor, Jim Zorn.
The Redskins also solidified their hold on last place in the NFC East for the fourth straight season. And the final margin of a game that was tight entering the fourth quarter ended up being their worst loss of the season.
The Redskins opened the quarter by failing to get into the end zone despite reaching the Philadelphia 9 yard line. On third down, Rex Grossman’s pass to tight end Logan Paulsen sailed harmlessly out of bounds, and they settled for Graham Gano’s 27-yard field goal, which cut the Eagles’ lead to 13-10.
The game stayed that way, though, only momentarily. On the third play of the Eagles’ next possession, quarterback Michael Vick looked deep. Vick had plenty of time, and got off a heave just as Washington defensive end Adam Carriker arrived in an attempt to block the pass. The ball found receiver DeSean Jackson, who badly beat safety Oshiomogho Atogwe and sauntered into the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown and a 20-10 Philadelphia lead.
The Redskins defense halted Philadelphia’s next possession when Atogwe picked off Vick near the Washington goal line. But the Redskins’ second takeaway of the day led only to a three-and-out – one that ended when Santana Moss’s apparent catch for a first down was overturned after a replay review. And Washington’s defense couldn’t come up with a big stop when it needed it most.
The Eagles got the ball back at their own 35 with nine minutes remaining. A huge third-and-9 pass from Vick to Jeremy Maclin – one that gained 29 yards – helped spark what became a six-play, 65-yard drive. Vick finished it off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek, and with 5:56 remaining, the Eagles’ lead ballooned to 27-10.
The Redskins’ next possession, a final shot at remaining in the game, ended with a fourth-down incompletion from Grossman, and the Eagles only needed to salt the final five minutes away. They did so by adding Dion Lewis’s nine-yard touchdown run.
The Redskins were without linebacker Brian Orakpo for the third quarter but managed to cut the Philadelphia lead to 13-7 heading into the final quarter of the season.
After two first-half sacks, Orakpo emerged from the locker room with his left shoulder wrapped and without his pads on.
The Redskins were finally able to get on the scoreboard early in the quarter. Grossman hit running back Roy Helu with a short pass, and the rookie running back weaved his way 47 yards for the Redskins’ first score.
Helu was aided by strong downfield blocks by guard Maurice Hurt and receiver Niles Paul. Helu, who missed last week’s game and was limited in practice all week due to knee and toe injuries, was walking gingerly after the play and spent much of the quarter on the trainers table. Evan Royster was also banged up on the drive and visited the locker room briefly before eventually returning to the game.
The Eagles responded to Washington’s lone touchdown with a long, 13-play drive. Michael Vick moved the Eagles offense down to the Redskins’ 2-yard line but Philadelphia was unable to punch it in. The Eagles’ settled for a 20-yard field goal by Alex Henery and took a 13-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
Washington mistakes in the second quarter -- particularly miscues on special teams -- kept the Redskins off the scoreboard and helped the Eagles score the game’s lone first-half touchdown, as Philadelphia carried a 10-0 lead into halftime of the season-finale.
Early in the quarter, the Redskins were moving the ball nicely with gains of 12 and 7 yards on consecutive plays. But Rex Grossman underthrew Anthony Armstrong and was intercepted by Philadelphia safety Nate Allen.
The Redskins had a better chance at scoring on their next possession when they marched into Eagles territory, thanks largely to Evan Royster’s 28-yard gain. But Washington abandoned the run once the offense reached the Eagles’ 18-yard line, and Grossman threw three straight incompletions.
Kicker Graham Gano lined up a 36-yard field goal attempt, but for the fifth time this season, the Redskins’ special teams allowed a block. On the Eagles’ ensuing possession, Michael Vick moved his offense down to the Washington 7-yard line. That’s where Vick hit receiver Chad Hall with a short pass just a couple yards shy of the goal line. Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall failed to tackle the receiver and linebacker Perry Riley whiffed. Chad Hall crossed the goal line on his second effort.
The Redskins’ had another opportunity to score. As the half neared its conclusion, Brian Orakpo turned in his second sack of the game when he wrapped up Vick for an 13-yard loss. More importantly, he jarred the ball loose and linebacker Perry Riley recovered it.
The Redskins began their drive on the 17-yard line and had 35 seconds to find the end zone. A 13-yard completion to Jabar Gaffney put Washington on the 4-yard line, but they’d get no closer.
Grossman threw an incompletion on the next play, and Santana Moss took off his helmet to argue with an official, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. With 16 seconds to play in the half, Grossman again hit Gaffney and the ball was marked on the 7-yard line.
The Redskins had no timeouts to use, though, and the field goal unit couldn’t get in place quickly enough. The half ended and the Redskins hit the locker room with zero points.
The Redskins forced the Eagles into a three-and-out series on the opening possession of the game. On that defensive stand, Brian Orakpo recorded a sack against Michael Vick. It was the second straight divisional game in which Orakpo had recorded a sack, and it was Orakpo’s eighth of the season.
Orakpo now has at least eight sacks in three consecutive seasons, the first Redskins player since Dexter Manley to do so. Manley recorded at least eight sacks per season from 1983 to 1989.
The Redskins couldn’t get anything going offensively, however, and after an ugly, 22-yard punt from Sav Rocca – who has been solid all season – the Eagles took over at the Washington 47.
The Eagles wound up settling for a 35-yard field goal by Alex Henery, taking a 3-0 lead with 10:34 left in the first quarter.
The Redskins saw their best chance for a touchdown slip through their hands midway through the quarter. On third-and-9 from the Philadelphia 43, Grossman had Santana Moss open running down the center of the field. Grossman’s pass was slightly underthrown and Moss had to slow up for it, but he still could have made the play. The ball slipped between Moss’s arms for an incompletion at the goal line.