McCoy helps dig the Redskins' grave

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Robert Griffin III fell backward; threw sideways to avoid the up-reaching arms of Fletcher Cox as he did; and, not surprisingly, a ball he intended to throw away didn't quite make it the necessary 35 yards. Quite a shock.

"It's something I shouldn't do, but we'll get better from it," Griffin said after the game, after Brandon Boykin had gathered in the fluttering floater to seal the Eagles' 24-16 win. "It's a somber moment right now for us with the Redskins."

If the Redskins are going to learn from the mistakes they have made this season, the payoff will have to be somewhere down the road, because the 2013 portion of their competitive lives is over.

"Thank God we play in an awful division," tight end Logan Paulson said.

There's no debating that, but even the NFC East isn't awful enough to keep the 3-7 Redskins afloat. The Eagles might not win the division and the charity entry to the postseason that title will provide some team, but there is now one fewer team around to get in their way.

"This season's been about hanging in and being tough and fighting through it, but I don't know how we get ourselves in those situations," receiver Santana Moss said.


Is the Eagles defense good enough to win in the playoffs?

He was referring to the 24-0 hole Washington found itself in after the opening drive of the third quarter. The answer to his question is that they get in those situations because the Redskins aren't very good and the teams they play are usually better.

A year ago, Washington was also 3-6 after nine games, but then won seven straight to make the playoffs, doing so despite having Griffin miss some time to a sprained knee late in the season. It finally did end badly for the Redskins, who lost in the playoffs to Seattle and lost Griffin when the sprain turned into a torn anterior cruciate ligament against the Seahawks.

This year, hoping to avoid a repeat of that final chapter, of course, the Washington players talked about making another late-season run from a 3-6 start and kicking it off against the Eagles. It turned out to be just talk, because their defense couldn't keep the Eagles from racking up the big early lead, and they definitely couldn't keep LeSean McCoy from making the whole Eagles offense work.

"He's a problem for everybody. He's almost like playing basketball. He's crossing people over and stuff like that," nose tackle Barry Cofield said. "He's so explosive and the way he makes guys miss, he buys a little time for the quarterback. It helps [Nick] Foles a lot."

McCoy took a swing pass on a little circle route around linebacker Ryan Kerrigan in the first quarter to gain 49 yards and set up the first touchdown of the game and also set the tone for the offense.

"That was a tough situation for Ryan," Cofield said. "We're 260 pounds. We don't run no 4.4s. What [linebacker] in the NFL is going to do that?"

The Redskins had some hope if the leg cramp McCoy suffered late in the second period had been something more serious. But he came back, and the Washington defense had to respect the run first, and that allowed Foles to use play-action passes to move the ball downfield. On the day, McCoy had 77 yards on 20 carries and another 73 yards on four receptions. And he handed out a number of broken ankles to the Washington defense.

"He has the best jump-cut in the game. You rarely tackle him with the first guy. I was evidence of that today," safety Reed Doughty said. "Say anything you want, but McCoy makes that offense go, and Foles plays well within himself."

In the end, Washington was able to make it interesting as Chip Kelly reeled in the offense late in the game, and as the defense gave up some hunks of yardage on two plays that shouldn't have been as successful. It wasn't interesting enough to keep the Redskins' season alive, though. At 3-7, even in the dreadful NFC East, it would take another run of the table just to get nine wins and that - which isn't going to happen - wouldn't even be enough for a team with an 0-3 record in the division.

For the time being, the Giants are still nominally in the race at 4-6, having put together a decent winning streak after losing the first six games of the season. The Cowboys and Eagles are in position to take the division to the final game in Dallas, and that looks increasingly likely. Washington? No, it's a three-team race now.

"You never tank a season. You never give up on what you've got going," Griffin said. "If you think you're going to do things like that, then you shouldn't be here. That's real cowardly, and I don't think we have any cowards in the locker room. You can't look at our record and say there's no chance."

Well, actually, you can. There's no chance.

The Eagles made sure of that on Sunday, knocking one duck off the gallery wall for good. Washington's defense had to focus all its energy on LeSean McCoy, and that left a lot of room elsewhere.

As they said, McCoy is a problem for every team that plays the Eagles, but he isn't Washington's problem any longer this season. In fact, the Redskins don't have any more problems this season, because their season is over. For the Eagles, that's one down, two to go.