A whole lot of "oops" is what we have from the Eagles' offense this season, despite enough yardage to rank the Birds No. 1 in the league going into Sunday. Too many misread blitzes, too many bad decisions from the quarterback, too many long stretches of ignoring LeSean McCoy in favor of high-stakes throws that aren't there to be made, with Vick working behind a patchwork offensive line.
Of course, a 2-1 record going into next Sunday's visit from the Giants isn't a tragedy. But maybe the question going forward is, can the personality this offense has established in its first three games get the Eagles to a winning season and the playoffs?
"No, no, no, no. Not at all. Arizona is a good team, but we spotted 'em about 17 points . . . I don't know too many teams we can beat, playing like that," McCoy said. "We overcome some things in the last two games, but you can't keep winning like that. You guys know that."
So, the Birds need to make some adjustments?
"Oh, my God, yeah. Adjustments? It's just simply just being disciplined. Smart things, blocking the right guy, holding onto the ball," said McCoy, who finished with 70 yards on 13 carries, nine of the carries with 55 of the yards coming in the second half, when the outcome was pretty well determined.
"I have to get my football team ready to play, and I did a terrible job this week," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "I've got to help with certain things. Then we have to make sure we have the right protection calls, and [Vick] has to make sure that he sees them. It is a collective effort, and that is my responsibility there."
Here's the setup to the play that defined pretty much everything that's wrong with the Eagles' 12-turnover offense, in microcosm.
First-and-goal at the Arizona 1, thanks to DeSean Jackson's only catch of the half, no timeouts, 16 seconds left, down 17-0. You try a quick, crisp throw or two, kick a field goal, go into the half feeling at least you got on the board, right?
Ah, no. First two snaps, you heave the ball out of the end zone, with no visible objective, other than to avoid a sack. Of course, a run there is a huge risk, because you've burned your timeouts, including the one you called coming out of the quarter break. Third snap, the last one before you have to bring on Alex Henery, safety Kerry Rhodes moves up on the line, to the quarterback's left. You have nobody there to block him.
Your quarterback turns his back to Rhodes and holds the ball until Rhodes blasts him from behind and he fumbles, so that safety James Sanders can scoop the ball up and run it 93 yards for the touchdown that makes it 24-0 at halftime.
Plus, time has expired long before Sanders gets to the end zone; had anyone managed to catch him, the killer touchdown would have been avoided. But McCoy, pretty much the only Eagle giving pursuit, can't penetrate a convoy of blockers, so, touchdown, and game.
A 10-point swing, that was basically a gift from the Eagles to Arizona.
"On those situations, I don't want anybody near the quarterback. The quarterback is in rhythm, and he either throws it for a touchdown or throws it away in rhythm, it's just that simple," Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said afterward.
Ah, but it wasn't simple. McCoy's job there was to pick up the blitz. Before the snap, he saw a defensive back on the right side move down to blitz position, so he moved over to that side. Then that guy dropped into coverage, McCoy said, the ball was snapped, and Rhodes blew in from the left.
Couldn't Vick see or sense that happening? Isn't he going to have to, for the Eagles to do anything this season?
"It was a situation where I should have been looking to get the ball out of my hands if things weren't there," said Vick, who completed 17 of 37 passes for 217 yards and a 64.8 passer rating. "I tried to hold onto it, make a play, and I just took a hit."
The Cards were credited with 13 quarterback hits and five sacks, with Demetress Bell playing left tackle for King Dunlap (hamstring) and Dallas Reynolds making his first NFL start at center, for Jason Kelce (knee).
Vick said he knew Rhodes was coming: "I was just hoping the back would pick him up. Still, trying to make a play, that's my responsibility, I gotta get that taken care of, the protection schemes, especially with a new center, and just gotta play better."
Mornhinweg, echoing Reid, said: "I put Mike in a bad spot there, that was my responsibility."
Kevin Kolb, the guy who lost his starting Eagles job to Vick just about exactly 2 years ago, led the now-3-0 Cardinals, completing 17 of 24 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Arizona didn't turn the ball over; the Eagles lost three fumbles, one on an early punt return, by rookie Damaris Johnson, the other two by Vick.
"I don't even want to think about it right now," Kolb said, when asked to put into words being 3-0 as the starter, after losing the job to John Skelton in the preseason. "I just want to stay focused, because I've done it in the past, you know, tried to foresee the future, and every time it comes up, knocks my legs from under me."
On Sunday, Kolb was the solid, smart game-manager Reid always thought he could be. But nobody familiar with Kolb's body of work since leaving the Eagles can seriously contend the result would have been much different Sunday if you'd switched the QBs; the Cards' aggressive, physical, relentless defense would have ground Kolb into the turf.
"Sometimes we just weren't on the same page," Bell said after the Eagles were held without a touchdown for the first time since the final game of the 2009 season, before the Vick era began. Wideout Jeremy Maclin (hip) was missed. "It was loud in there, and we just weren't communicating. That's it."
Eagles left guard Evan Mathis said: "They have a wide variety of blitzes and a great defensive scheme. They executed well. They had a great game plan."
Brent Celek, targeted six times but held to two catches for 36 yards, said the Cardinals "caught us off guard," though when he said that, he'd just finished saying "you never know what a defense is going to do against us; we're ready for anything."
Turnovers kept the Eagles out of the playoffs in 2011. So far, is there any reason to think this season is going to be different?
"It's something that we have to change. It's something that we haven't changed yet this year, and we're going into the fourth game," Celek said.
The big story was the offense, but the defense, which helped the Eagles overcome nine turnovers the first 2 weeks, wasn't up to that level Sunday. Just as in last year's win at the Linc, the Cards basically had one weapon, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. And just like last year, the Eagles couldn't stop him, kept ending up in mismatches and blown coverages, as on the 37-yard TD that made it 17-0, when Nnamdi Asomugha was expecting safety help inside and didn't get it.
Fitzgerald was targeted nine times and caught nine passes, for 114 yards, seven of the catches and 105 of the yards coming in the first half. Fitzgerald, 29, became the youngest player in NFL history to catch 700 passes. He accounted for more yards in the first half than the rest of the Cardinals, combined.
Contact Les Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.