LANDOVER, Md. -At kickoff on Sunday, the Eagles controlled their own playoff destiny. Three hours later, they're back to where they were Sunday morning.
They need help.
Tampa Bay's 41-24 loss to San Diego put the 8-5-1 Eagles in the driver's seat Sunday night for an NFC wild card berth, but in losing 10-3 to the Redskins at FedEx Field, the Eagles are now worse off than where they started.
"It's not a good feeling," head coach Andy Reid said. "I'm very disappointed."
The results now seem dire. Photo Gallery : PHI vs. WAS 12-21-08
First things first, the Eagles must control what they can and defeat Dallas. The Cowboys actually are in the playoffs if they win.
The Eagles now need Tampa Bay to lose again, as Atlanta's victory over Minnesota put the Falcons in the playoffs. Not only that, but the Eagles need either Minnesota or Chicago to lose a game as well. The Vikings host the Giants next week, but New York could well be resting its starters in preparation for the playoffs after they secured home-field advantage with Sunday night's overtime win against Carolina.
The Bears, though, have two games left. They host Green Bay at Soldier Field Monday night and then travel to Houston next Sunday.
As for Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers host lowly Oakland at Raymond James Stadium next in Week 17. Then again, the Bucs have lost three straight games.
So, in short, the Eagles squandered a golden opportunity on Sunday.
"I didn't know the situation," quarterback Donovan McNabb said, "because no matter what happened – if it was Tampa, Atlanta, whoever – we had to win. And that should have been our focus today."
If this game seemed almost too easy, too good to be true coming into it, it was. The Redskins were reeling – victims of a three-game losing streak including a defeat at the hands of woeful Cincinnati a week ago. The Eagles, on the other hand, were hot at the right time, piling up victories while all the right cards fell around them to produce a dream scenario.
The Redskins' offense was exactly what was expected. It was only able to mount 10 points after scoring just 66 total in its previous six games. But the Eagles' offense, which had efficiently dismantled the Cardinals, Giants and Browns in consecutive weeks, was almost completely ineffective.
Unfortunately, more "what ifs" than "how in the world did they do thats" will be piling up in Philadelphia over the next few weeks.
The miracle run ended in Washington, and it's going to take another one to keep it going into the postseason.
"Things early on (in the season) will cost you later," McNabb said. "And, as you can see, at this point, we're paying for the mistakes that we made."