LANDOVER, Md. - Clad appropriately in all black, Andy Reid trudged down the hallway to the FedEx Field visitors' locker room red-faced, eyes fixed straight ahead, his mustache twitching as he chewed gum, Reid flanked by team security director Dom DiSandro.
Was it the last walk from the field of Reid's 14-year Eagles coaching career?
A high-ranking team source told the Daily News it was not, that Reid will coach the Eagles next Monday night against the Carolina Panthers.
Told during the game that fans want to hear from team chairman Jeffrey Lurie, their 3-7 team having dropped six games in a row in increasingly ugly fashion, a team spokesman said Lurie was unlikely to speak Sunday. He didn't say anything about Monday.
As the Birds packed their belongings to head home after a 31-6 thumping by the host Washington Redskins, it didn't really seem to matter much who runs this shipwreck through the final 6 weeks.
Asked if he thinks he will keep hmaclis job the rest of the season, Reid said: "We need to get ready for the Monday night game; that's what we're going to do."
Asked if he feels his team is getting worse, Reid said: "Well, we didn't look better today."
No 3-7 team has ever made the playoffs. Told that, Reid said: "We're going to keep battling."
To say this loss could not have been a bigger disaster would have seemed at least a little hyperbolic, until LeSean McCoy banged helmets with a tackler, the Eagles' best player unaccountably still carrying the mail with 1 minute and 45 seconds left in a game his team trailed by 25 points.
McCoy left the field on a cart after having suffered a concussion, Reid confirmed. Asked why McCoy was still in the game at that point, Reid said: "Because we were trying to catch up and win the game."
As answers go, that one made no sense, which made it a microcosm of the season. Reid's defense has gotten steadily worse since he fired coordinator Juan Castillo during the bye week; the four quarterbacks the Eagles have faced since then have all posted passer ratings above 120, and Sunday, Redskins rookie phenom Robert Griffin III achieved perfection: a 158.3 rating, on 14 completions in 15 attempts for 200 yards and four touchdowns. Griffin also ran 14 times for 84 yards.
Reid's offensive line unveiled perhaps its most ineffective configuration yet Sunday, with Jake Scott, the guard signed from off his couch a week ago Monday, starting at right guard and rookie Dennis Kelly moving out to right tackle. Danny Watkins, the 2011 first-round pick with the wonky ankle, was deemed available only for emergency duty. This hapless, penalty-prone group watched a Redskins defense that had been ranked 28th in the NFL strip away any possible shred of hope from the starting debut of rookie quarterback Nick Foles. Foles threw a pair of early interceptions and finished with 21 completions in 46 attempts for 204 yards and a 40.5 passer rating.
"He made a few young-guy mistakes that he'll learn from," Reid said. "We'll give him an opportunity to correct those, and he'll correct them."
Foles gets lots of slack for the horrible offensive line, and the fact that he spent more than half the season running practice-squad plays, then had to jump in, with little time to develop timing. But even when you grade on that curve, he was not promising. In fact, after the Redskins started looking for his screens and dumps, he was downright bad.
"Today was a rough game. I didn't play well at all," said Foles, who stepped in for concussed Michael Vick. "I need to do things a lot better. But I'm a guy, I take this stuff and I'll learn from it . . . It's really tough . . . I gotta make better decisions, and put us in a better position."
The first set of bad vibrations from this game shook the Eagles on the third snap of the day. Third-and-8 from the Birds' 23, Foles scrambled and tried to zip a ball into a tight window to tight end Brent Celek. Celek, once a reliable, solid soldier, has somehow become a liability, as he showed when he batted the ball to Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall.
So the Redskins started at the Eagles' 9, and scored two plays later.
Foles threw another first-quarter pick that wasn't a receiver's fault. Then, to cap a horrible first half, the Eagles: 1) Called timeout before a Redskins punt in the final minute; 2) Still didn't have 11 players on the field when Washington lined up to punt; 3) Got the ball and handed off with 36 seconds left rather than kneeling; 4) Fumbled the ball away (McCoy), and best of all, 5) Lined up with 12 men to defend against the eventual gift Redskins field goal.
It's really difficult to view that sequence as anything less than a complete meltdown by players and coaches, the sort of thing other teams will see on film and giggle about.
Asked why he took the timeout, Reid said: "That's just what I chose to do."
The Eagles trailed 17-3 at halftime and never came close to scoring a touchdown. Facing what had been the NFL's 30th-ranked pass defense, Foles completed only eight passes to wide receivers, five of those to emergency slot man Riley Cooper, playing for injured Jason Avant. His longest completion came when McCoy rambled 25 yards with a pass.
Asked what he thinks upper management must feel about the Eagles right now, Celek said: "I wouldn't be happy if I was them. I'm sure they're not. This is a talented team. As players, we're not making plays. I don't get it."
Is this the kind of game that gets coaches fired?
"I don't know," Celek said. "I have no idea."
Celek was clearly upset, as he has been after previous losses in this era-ending cataclysm. The Redskins came in off their bye, but also on a three-game losing streak, with the same 3-6 record as the Eagles.
"This is our job. This is what we're supposed to do, and we're failing at it," Celek said.
"You play for pride," middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "Nobody's laying down, saying it's over."
DeSean Jackson was asked if this is the low point of his career, after the Eagles plummeted to the largest losing margin to an NFC East foe since Reid arrived in 1999.
"So far, since I've been here, yes," Jackson said. "I'm in my fifth year and our record is 3-7 and I've never witnessed that in my life."
Left guard Evan Mathis said the record should reflect on the players, not on their coaches. He referenced "rookie mistakes by our veterans."
"We are not consistent right now," Mathis said. "We are not a consistent football team, and that's what it takes to win in the NFL . . . You can't pinpoint one thing and say, 'Oh, that's their problem.' We're making a lot of mistakes."
Wideout Jeremy Maclin, who had no catches, was asked to evaluate Foles.
"When you have . . . a guy making his first start in the league, other guys have to elevate their game, and I felt like as a team, we didn't do that," Maclin said.
Reid said he thought at times players were trying too hard. Certainly Sunday it seemed the bigger the deficit, the more pathetic the play, on both sides of the ball.
"For a quarter or two, you're looking good and then something slips, and then it keeps slipping," corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said.
"It makes me sick," Celek said.