By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – First, there was the nine-minute touchdown drive to open the game from the Falcons. Then there was the Eagles three-and-out masterpiece that followed it.

I sat back, sighed, and thought to myself, “this is going to be really ugly.”

I didn’t mean just the rest of yesterday’s 30-17 disaster, I meant the final ten games of the season. I didn’t mean just the football that will be played, which will surely often times be ugly, I meant the final chapter of the Andy Reid era. If you think it’s ugly now, you’ve seen nothing yet.

Imagine that feeling you have when you slip and fall on an icy sidewalk. That moment in total, from the initial slip to laying on the ground, takes at-most a second or two, but it feels like forever. Waiving your arms, even though you’ve got no real chance to get your balance. Trying to brace yourself for the fall, even though no matter what you do, it’s going to hurt. You could swear you were slipping for an hour.

Andy Reid will be doing the football version of that hopeless fall on the ice, and we’re all going to be watching it happen. We may only have nine weeks left of the Eagles season, but this is going to feel like forever.  When he fired Juan Castillo, we saw him start to waive his arms. When he replaces Vick with Foles, we’ll see him start to brace himself for the fall.

This is the end of the Reid era, you can be sure of that. It’s likely you won’t believe it until you see it, because you’ve been here before. But as a former Reid devotee, I can tell you it’s different this time. This is the end.

Jeff Lurie may not have trouble selling tickets to games this season, but it’s more than that. If your restaurant fills every table every night, but everyone leaves saying they had a terrible meal, the tables won’t be full for long. There’s no way Lurie doesn’t see this for himself, and hear the fans and media. Many seats at Lincoln Financial Field were empty for the second half on Sunday. It’d be a mistake to wait until they’re empty for the entire game to recognize the problem.

At least the fans showed up for the first half and then left, which was a full half more than the team showed up for.

Really, the ultimate sign that this is over isn’t the fact that the fans are angry, we’ve been angry before. It’s that the players don’t seem to care.

Even Michael Vick doesn’t seem so bothered by the prospect of not playing anymore. He actually sounds resigned to it. His play has often times been poor this season, but he’s always seemed to have the desire to win and stay on the field. “Obviously [Reid] is thinking about making a change at the quarterback position,” Vick said during the post-game press conference. “If that’s a decision that coach wants to make, then I support it.”

The team’s best player, LeSean McCoy, noticed the same thing, saying “I didn’t see any pride. I didn’t see any heart. This is the whole team, myself included.” This about a team that was 3-1 a month ago.

Reid’s always had the support of his players, until now.

I don’t think it’s likely that Reid walks out on this season. I don’t think it’s likely that Lurie fires him before the final game. So this is going to be a slow, painful, ugly, final chapter.

So cringe as you watch Reid try to prevent it from happening. Watch him waive his arms and try to brace himself for the fall. And know that even though it seems like it’s taking forever, it will all be over soon.

Follow Spike Eskin on Twitter @SpikeEskin.

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