EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Here's a statistic unique to the Eagles: They are 2-0 this season when ending the first half by allowing the opposition to block a field goal and return it for a touchdown.
"Maybe we should do it every week," safety Quintin Mikell said yesterday after the Eagles' 20-14 win over the New York Giants.
The Eagles had dominated the first half and were in position to go up 13-0 when David Akers lined up for a 32-yard field goal with seven seconds left.
Instead, defensive end Justin Tuck got a hand on Akers' kick and cornerback Kevin Dockery scooped up the football, broke a Todd Herremans tackle and ran 71 yards for a touchdown.
What should have been a 13-point Eagles lead had been reduced to three.
"To be honest, it was pretty frustrating," Mikell said. "You're like, 'Why does this stuff keep happening to us?' But we knew we had been in that position before against [San Francisco] and we came out on top. For the most part, we didn't panic. Everybody just said, 'Let's go back to work.' I just think it shows we're pretty tough mentally."
The Eagles, to their credit, responded with a 15-play drive to start the second half, but that drive also ended with an unsuccessful field-goal attempt. The Giants' Terrell Thomas got credit for tipping the kick, but Akers wasn't sure that was the case.
"If it wasn't tipped, it just shows you how bad the wind was out there," Akers said. "As the game progressed, it got windier and windier."
The wind was Akers' friend on his first field-goal attempt. He hit a 51-yarder as time expired in the first quarter, giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
"The first one was big for us to get a jump in the game," Akers said. "We had the two that didn't go our way. It definitely stinks because you know it was going to be a hard-fought battle and to give up seven points that way is not something you want to do. But the last one, we buckled down and to make that was big."
Akers connected on a 34-yarder with 2 minutes, 9 seconds left in the game, giving the Eagles a 20-7 lead. Akers' 51-yarder ended a string of six straight misses from 50 yards and beyond dating to Week 4 of last season, when he nailed a career-long 53 yarder at the Meadowlands against the Giants.
Giant distraction. It was inevitable that the Giants would be asked after the game if the Plaxico Burress situation served as a distraction in their first home loss of the season.
Linebacker Antonio Pierce, who was with Burress on Nov. 29 when the wide receiver shot himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub, was questioned by New York City police about the incident on Saturday.
"We're not worrying about [distractions]," Pierce said. "Obviously, everybody is going to use that as an excuse. It's not an excuse. The Philadelphia Eagles came ready to play and they made more plays than the New York Giants today."
The Giants definitely missed Burress, who was suspended by the team for the final four games. His replacement, Domenik Hixon dropped a second-quarter deep pass from Eli Manning that probably would have resulted in a touchdown.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin bristled at the suggestion that the Eagles looked more physically and mentally into the game.
"I don't necessarily agree with that," he said. "We didn't play well. We didn't play the way we have been playing. We are a better football team than that, but as far as all those other things go, that is all speculation."
Curtis suffers concussion. Eagles receiver Kevin Curtis left the game late in the first half after suffering a concussion. It appeared to occur while he was blocking for tight end L.J. Smith near the Giants' sideline.
Brown benched. Reggie Brown was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career as Eagles coach Andy Reid decided to go with just five wide receivers. It was the fifth time this season that Brown did not play. He missed four games earlier this season with groin and hamstring injuries. Brown had just three catches in the Eagles' previous five games.
Extra points. On the same day that safety Brian Dawkins matched Harold Carmichael's team record of playing in 180 games, running back Brian Westbrook broke the wide receiver's career record for yards from scrimmage. Westbrook's 203 yards yesterday gave him 9,085 for his career, 43 more than Carmichael. . . . Trent Cole's second-quarter block of a 47-yard field-goal attempt by the Giants' John Carney was the Eagles' first blocked field goal since Oct. 23, 2005 when Quintin Mikell blocked an attempt by San Diego's Nate Kaeding and Matt Ware returned it for a game-winning touchdown.