- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: The Redskins' season is over. The plug was pulled early Sunday afternoon courtesy of the Eagles. So one year after winning the division and then entering the season with plenty of optimism, the Redskins won’t even make it to the end of December in the hunt for a playoff spot. They can blame the cap issues and Robert Griffin III’s knee all they want, but this disaster goes beyond those issues. To think otherwise would be a failure to learn why this season unraveled. They recovered in the fourth quarter to make it a competitive score and even had the ball with a chance to drive for the tie. But they played so poorly for three quarters that they needed a miracle comeback. At 3-7, the Redskins have shown no ability to play well in consecutive weeks, and lately it’s been tough to even put one complete game together. For a while this was going to be perhaps the worst loss in the Mike Shanahan era when the game turned. Good to come back; but you can’t overlook why they dug themselves such a deep hole.
Red zone failures: The Redskins did not play well, but had they executed better in the red zone, they could have won this game. Griffin was hit and fumbled in the first half inside the Eagles' 10-yard line. He hung onto the ball, but Roy Helu failed to block the linebacker and it did not look like any receiver had won their one-on-one battle. Then, on the final drive of the game, he was under pressure and appeared to try to throw the ball away out of the end zone. But he left it about 5 yards short, leading to an easy interception.
Defensive doesn't get it done: The Redskins' defense said it’d be much improved from the opener, but the Eagles didn’t have a whole lot of trouble in building a 24-0 lead as Washington missed too many tackles and allowed 6.5 yards per play. It fared better in the last quarter and a half, especially on third down. But it wasn’t enough.
No happy returns: Nick Williams was active and replaced Josh Morgan as a punt returner, but he did not have a strong day in that department. He muffed one punt and failed to field another, forcing the Redskins to drive 96 yards. Williams did catch a two-point conversion, but he did not distinguish himself on returns.
Up next: The Redskins host San Francisco a week from Monday, the first of three straight home games.