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A painful end to a dreary season for Redskins

5-11 finish is Shanahan's worst in 17 seasons as NFL coach

By Mike Jones The Washington Post

11:31 PM EST, January 1, 2012

PHILADELPHIA

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— In a performance befitting their dismal, error- and injury-filled campaign, the Washington Redskins stumbled their way through a 34-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in their final game of the season Sunday.

Rex Grossman kept team and individual turnover streaks intact with his 20th interception of the season. Poor tackling and breakdowns in pass coverage led to big scoring plays for the Eagles (8-8). Ineffective red zone play and penalties kept the Redskins from scoring themselves.

At one point, the Redskins had both running backs — Roy Helu and Evan Royster — receiving treatment from the medical staff on trainer's tables. Linebacker Brian Orakpo missed the second half with a pectoral injury. There was a 21-point fourth-quarter by the Eagles. And of course, the package wouldn't have been complete without a blocked field goal, so Washington allowed one of those as well.

The primary bright spots of the game for Washington were a 47-yard touchdown by Helu, a second straight 100-yard rushing outing by Royster (19 carries for 104 yards, including a long of 28) and two sacks by Orakpo, who finished the season with nine, the third straight year he has led the team.

But beyond that, highlights were few for the Redskins. The Eagles racked up 390 yards of offense — 190 in the fourth quarter — and had three receivers with at least 86 yards apiece. Washington's defense gave up at least 30 points for the fourth time in the last five games, and the 24-point loss was the Redskins' largest margin of defeat this season.

So ended the worst year in Mike Shanahan's 17 full seasons as a head coach.

The 5-11 finish was worse than a pair of 6-10 campaigns recorded by Shanahan last year and in 1999. It also gave Shanahan an 11-21 record in his first two seasons with the Redskins, who went 12-20 in the two seasons under Jim Zorn before Shanahan's arrival.

It also marked a third consecutive losing season for one of the NFL's most storied franchises, and the eighth time in the past 10 seasons that the Redskins have failed to post a winning record.

"Extremely frustrating to lose 11 ballgames, another game to a divisional opponent," linebacker London Fletcher said. "Felt like we played good football in the first half, and then in the fourth quarter, it got away from us. . . . Not enough good football for 60 minutes."

The Redskins trailed 10-0 at halftime and saw their best chance for an early touchdown slip through their hands midway through the first quarter. On third-and-9 from the Philadelphia 43, Grossman had Santana Moss open down the center of the field. His pass was slightly underthrown, and Moss had to slow up for it, but the ball slipped between Moss's arms for an incompletion at the goal line.

And then came an unfortunate second quarter, which featured the same types of misfortunes that have the Redskins have seen all season.

On the third play of the quarter, wide receiver Anthony Armstrong slipped past two defenders 54 yards downfield. But Grossman's underthrown pass bounced off the helmet of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and into the hands of safety Nate Allen at the Philadelphia 7-yard line. Allen returned the interception 31 yards. It marked the 13th consecutive game with a turnover for Grossman, who finished the game 22-for-45 for 256 yards, a touchdown and an interception; for the Redskins, it sealed their league-worst 30th straight game with at least one turnover.

Later in the second quarter, kicker Graham Gano lined up for a field goal at the Philadelphia 18-yard line, only to have it blocked as the Eagles mowed down the right side of the line and Derek Landri batted the ball down. That gave Washington its league-worst fifth blocked field goal of the season and Gano, a former Raven, his 10th failed field-goal attempt.

Philadelphia scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Michael Vick to receiver Chad Hall, who slipped feeble tackle attempts by DeAngelo Hall and Perry Riley, then stepped into the end zone.

The Redskins moved to the Philadelphia35 before turning over the ball on downs with 44 seconds left in the half, but Orakpo sacked Vick and forced a fumble, which Washington recovered at the 17.

The Redskins, who had no timeouts left, reached the 4-yard line, but Grossman threw an incompletion in the end zone to Moss.

Moss thought he had been interfered with and took off his helmet while arguing the lack of a call, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that backed Washington up 15 yards with 23 seconds left.

Two plays later, the Redskins reached the 8-yard line but couldn't stop the clock and couldn't line up in time to try a field goal. They entered halftime scoreless.