Valiant, but ultimately not enough.
That's how head coach Andy Reid described his team's effort in the final home game of the 2012 season.
"I appreciate the effort, but the objective here is to win the game and we didn't do that," Reid said. "We had opportunities down (in the red zone). For some of the young guys, it's a good learning experience. They have to capitalize on it when they're in that situation again, and make sure that we finish the game and finish it right. The fans were great. They stayed, they were into the game and I thought the guys have them something to cheer about. But the bottom line is that we have to finish the game and win the game. It's unacceptable to lose the game."
An inability to finish in the red zone once again reared its ugly head on Sunday afternoon, as the Eagles scored touchdowns on only one of four trips inside the Redskins' 20-yard-line, including the final drive of the 27-20 loss. If only one more red-zone trip had been turned into a touchdown, the Eagles would have at least taken the Redskins, who converted both of their red-zone trips into touchdowns, into overtime. Coming into the game, the Eagles ranked 27th in the league in red-zone offense.
As Reid and the Eagles walked off the field following the game-ending intentional grounding penalty, the head coach was serenaded with chants of his name by the home fans. Under the specter of outside rumors about his future as head coach of the Eagles, Reid was appreciative of the support.
"We have great fans," he said. "I've always said that we're kind of 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 got it. I understand. I understand the situation. I appreciate everything."
Despite the disappointing outcome and the team's disappointing 4-11 record, there were some positives to take away for an Eagles team that is now comprised mostly of young players. For one, the return of Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, who compiled 122 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches, helped spark the offense.
"I wouldn't expect anything less from him," Reid said. "That's just how he's wired. He loves playing the game. He was into it and he was into it all week. Even when I took him out of the game, he battled me to get back into the game. He wanted to play, and that says something about the kid."
On the other side of the ball, Reid continued to be impressed by the emergence of defensive end Brandon Graham, who has come on strongly over the past several weeks. On Sunday, Graham tied for the team lead with seven tackles and had an impressive pass defensed when he batted down a shovel pass from Robert Griffin III.
"I'm proud of him for the way he's worked," Reid said. "He's a first-round draft pick, and if you're not getting playing time early in a very competitive city on a very competitive football team, you can hang your head. He never did that. He continued to work hard and he battled through injuries and battled through being demoted into a second and third position at times. He's gotten better. He's a legitimate big-time player at this level. He just needs to keep working hard and keep his mind right, and he's going to have a great future."
Beyond Nick Foles' injury to his throwing hand, there was only one other injury for Reid to report: a concussion for defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Reid said that Cox will be evaluated as the week goes on ahead of next Sunday's regular season finale against the New York Giants.
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