The penalty eliminated the final second of play, when the Eagles may have had one more chance from five yards away to tie the game and perhaps provide those fans with a fond lasting memory of Reid.
Sp the Eagles lost their 11th game of the season, matching the worst finish in Reid's career. The Eagles visit the rival New York Giants next Sunday, and his fate is likley to be determined quickly thereafter.
For Philadelphia fans, Sunday was goodbye.
"I understand the situation," Reid said after his team fell to 4-11. "I appreciate everything."
Reid's final task as Eagles coach may be the development of rookie quarterback Nick Foles. That process included another uneven performance Sunday, with Foles completing nearly 67 percent of his passes for 345 yards and a touchdown. But he committed a costly fumble, threw an interception and could not lead the Eagles to a comeback in the game's final seconds. He also played the entire second half with a contusion on his throwing hand.
"There were some snaps he'd like to have back, but one thing that he did was he continued to battle through the game," Reid said. "And actually I thought he did better in the second half than in the first half."
No matter how he played before, Foles had a chance to lead a comeback when the Eagles gained possession on their 15-yard line with 4 minites, 15 seconds remaining, trailing by seven points and with all three timeouts at their disposal.
Foles drove the Eagles into the red zone before he underthrew an open Jeremy Maclin in the end zone from the 17-yard line. It was a completion Foles needed, and whether it was the injured hand or the swirling wind, the ball fell short.
"I felt like I had him," Foles said. "Next time I see that throw, I'll make it."
Maclin initially thought the ball would reach him. He did not know why it didn't. Foles and Maclin connected on a first-quarter touchdown, and Maclin finished with eight catches for 116 yards. But it would have helped if there was one more catch for 17 yards.
"He'll continue to grow as a quarterback as he matures in this league, and even to this day the great ones still miss balls," Maclin said.
The Eagles still had a chance after that play. LeSean McCoy (45 rushing yards, 77 receiving yards) took a fourth-down pass to the 5-yard line. After an incompletion, Foles went into the shotgun with eight seconds left. He was flushed to his left by Redskins end Stephen Bowen, and, with pressure mounting, Foles tried throwing the ball away.
The problem was no one was around, and the pass failed to reach the line of scrimmage. After an official's conference, a flag was thrown to end the game.
"I just have to be smarter and make sure it gets past the line of scrimmage," Foles said. "It's on me."
The game shifted after Foles fumbled on a similar play in the first quarter. The Eagles opened with an 11-play, 76-yard scoring drive and were driving to take a two-score lead when Foles was stripped with the Eagles approaching field-goal range.
From that point, the Redskins outscored the Eagles, 27-6, before Colt Anderson recorded the first interception in nine games. The fourth-quarter interception led to Dion Lewis' 17-yard touchdown run, putting the Eagles to within seven points. The defense forced the Redskins to punt, but the Eagles came five yards short.
"The bottom line is that we have to finish the game and win the game," Reid said. "It's unacceptable to lose the game."
It's also unacceptable to lose as often as the Eagles have the last two seasons, which is why Sunday had the feeling of a career finale for Reid.
"Those are good stories, but . . . your mind doesn't go there," Reid said about his futre. "Especially a game like that, which comes down to the last second."
Contact Zach Berman at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.