Eagles finish with a thud

Michael Vick and the Eagles couldn't overcome the Packers' defense despite a fourth-quarter rally. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles' season died, suddenly.

It is always the way at this time of year. Sudden. Empty.

The final score was Green Bay 21, Eagles 16. It played out in ways that a lot of people did not expect.

The Packers, the team without a running game, ran the ball early, often and effectively, and someone named James Stark ended up with well north of 100 yards.

The Eagles' defense couldn't come up with the big play when needed, especially on third down.

Michael Vick did not get hit as often as some people predicted by the Packers' blitzing defense, but he still could not make enough dynamic plays, either with his legs or with the big, downfield passes on which this team has so often relied. And he suffered some kind of a lower left leg injury on a failed 2-point conversion try with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter.

Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg had an extra week to game plan for the Packers, considering they didn't try to win the last game of the regular season, but they were able to work no schematic magic.

David Akers, the Pro Bowl kicker, missed twice, from 41 and 34 yards.

And even with all of that, the Eagles had a shot to win it at the end. The defense made a final stand, and the Packers were forced to punt the ball away at the 2-minute warning. Vick, with his foot taped up, returned to the huddle with 1:45 left and the ball on the Eagles' 34-yard line.

A 28-yard pass to DeSean Jackson got the ball to the Packers' 38-yard line. An incompletion to Brent Celek followed, and then an incomplete screen pass to Shady McCoy. Third-and-10. An 11-yard completion to Riley Cooper got the Eagles the first down, but then, on the next play it ended. Vick tried to force a ball to Cooper in the end zone, but Tramon William gained position undernearth. It was an easy interception with 33 seconds remaining.

So it ended. All that will be left are the recriminations.