EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 30: Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles walks off the field after the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-7. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Each week we'll take a look at the decisive play that proved to be the difference between winning and losing.
And so it ends, fittingly, with a 42-7 blowout at the hands of the division rival Giants. It's probably better this way; if the score had been reversed we'd probably give some thought -- even if momentarily -- to the idea of bringing Reid back. Instead, the coach who arrived in Philly in 1999 will be on some other sideline in 2013 and the Eagles will spend the ensuing weeks and months answering a lot of tough questions.
The finale, which also likely included Michael Vick's last game in Philly, felt like a meaningless Week 17 get-together. The Eagles got things started with an onside kick, portending good things for a team in desperate need of some positive news. Of course, Vick threw an interception five plays later and that, as they say, was that. New York scored four plays after that and never looked back.
In a theme that has been familiar to Eagles fans for most of his tenure, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was routinely targeted and abused Sunday. He said last week that he'd like to return to Philly but he'll almost certainly need to take a pay cut. More generally, the Eagles' defense looked about as porous as it had all year, and that's saying something for a group that played a non-trivial role in 12 losses, including a nine-game losing streak.
Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 107 yards on just 16 carries. And quarterback Eli Manning, who struggled with consistency for most of the year, completed just 13 passes, but five (FIVE!) went for touchdowns. The lowlight of the afternoon had to be the fourth-quarter touchdown celebration that came courtesy of Giants fullback Henry Hynoski. Nothing screams "your season is officially over" quite like that.
Reid told reporters after the game that "I haven't met with Jeffrey (Lurie)" about the future, but added, "Either way, I understand. If I'm here again, I'll love every minute of it. If I'm not, I'll understand that too."
Twitter was rife with reports that Reid had been fired although official word isn't expected until Monday. Whenever the word is delivered, it won't be a surprise. Not to Reid, not to the players, and certainly not to the fans and media.
There is plenty to look forward to with the new regime, from the development quarterback Nick Foles and running back Bryce Brown, to the big-play skills of LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and DeSean Jackson, not to mention a completely healthy offensive line for the first time since 2011. There are still issues to work out on the defensive side of the ball, but there are playmakers there, too. Now it's just a matter of finding the right coach to get the most out of a group that has underachieved for two years now.