Instant Observations: Cardinals 27, Eagles 6

Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid.Here are my instant observations from the Eagles’ 27-6 loss to the Cardinals.

OFFENSE

* The Eagles had three first-half turnovers. The biggest came with the Eagles facing a 3rd-and-goal from the Cardinals’ 1 with six seconds left in the second quarter. Safety Kerry Rhodes came unblocked from Michael Vick’s front side, sacked him and forced a fumble. James Sanders returned it 93 yards for a touchdown, putting the Cardinals up, 24-0, at halftime.

* It’s tough to say if the problems in protection were receivers being covered, Vick holding the ball too long or just poor protection. I’ll have to re-watch, but it didn’t seem like Demetress Bell played well. He got beat and let Vick take a hit on the Eagles’ second offensive play. He also got beat badly in the fourth on the third down where Vick was called for intentional grounding. Bell had two first-half penalties too.

* Vick finished 17-for-37 for 217 yards. That’s a completion percentage of 45.9 and a yards per attempt number of 5.9. LeSean McCoy carried 13 times for 70 yards, averaging 5.4  yards per carry.

* Dallas Reynolds got beat in the first and allowed a big hit on Vick.

* The Eagles called 25 passes and five runs in the first half. Vick got sacked three times. Pretty much a repeat performance of the first half in Cleveland. With Vick struggling and the offensive line having trouble in protection, not sure why the offense stayed so committed to chucking the ball downfield.

* Damaris Johnson fumbled a punt return in the first, leading to the Cardinals’ first touchdown. Johnson led the Eagles with 11 targets, five catches and 84 yards.

* Horrible sequence to start the second quarter. The Eagles used a timeout before calling a play, and then Bell was called for a false start.

* DeSean Jackson thought he was getting held on a deep ball in the first half. Rather than go after the ball, he complained to the ref while the pass was in the air. Jackson had three catches for 43 yards on 10 targets.

* Bryce Brown had a nice 17-yard run in the third, his best of the season.

* Not sure why the Eagles decided to kick the field goal on 4th-and-5 from the Cardinals’ 22 with time winding down in the third. They were down, 24-3, at the time. The comeback was a longshot, but I think you have to go for it there.

DEFENSE

* Larry Fitzgerald got matched up with different Eagles cornerbacks throughout the game. Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Brandon Boykin each matched up with him at various points on the first Cardinals’ possession. Fitzgerald had seven catches for 105 yards and a touchdown after catching one ball last week against New England.

* Asomugha got beat by Fitzgerald on a 37-yard touchdown. It looked like he thought he had safety help inside. TV cameras showed Asomugha and Kurt Coleman having an animated discussion on the sidelines after the play.

* Kevin Kolb went 13-for-18 for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first half. He finished 17-for-24 for 222 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

* Not sure why, but for the second straight week, the Eagles replaced Rodgers-Cromartie with Brandon Hughes on occasion. On one play in the first, Hughes came in and blitzed from left cornerback. Kolb completed a pass to the other side of the field for a first down.

* You got the sense it wasn’t going to be the Eagles’ day when Ryans jumped in front of a Kolb pass to Michael Floyd and nearly had an interception, but the ball popped up in the air, and Floyd came down with it for an 8-yard touchdown.

* Fletcher Cox left the game in the first half with migraines, but later returned.

* There was plenty of confusion with the refs. In the second quarter, the Cardinals had a 9-yard run and then were whistled for a dead-ball personal foul penalty. On second down, Darryl Tapp sacked Kolb, and Arizona was called for holding. The Eagles declined the penalty and set up third and long. But then the officials ruled that it was second down, and Andy Reid accepted the penalty. Still not sure why he accepted it. We’ll see what he has to say about it after the game.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

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