Tackling?

If Eagles coach Andy Reid had the late John McKay's sense of humor, he'd have said he was in favor of it after Sunday night's game at Giants Stadium.

Reid was clearly in a good mood yesterday just a few hours after the team bus had steered the Eagles back down the New Jersey Turnpike to the NovaCare Complex following a wild 45-38 victory over the New York Giants.

The coach, however, was also well aware that it wasn't the best of nights for his defense.

"The obvious was we missed too many tackles," Reid said. "We have to do a better job there, and that's fundamentals."

The coach pinned the blame more on the secondary and linebackers.

Missed tackles by cornerback Asante Samuel and safety Quintin Mikell allowed rookie receiver Hakeem Nicks to break free for a 68-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.

Others by linebacker Will Witherspoon and safety Sean Jones permitted receiver Domenik Hixon to break loose for a 61-yard, third-quarter TD that gave the Giants their only lead.

Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said his players were well aware that they were fortunate to win on a night they surrendered 512 yards - the most the Eagles had ever yielded in a victory.

"The players know," McDermott said. "They came in and they knew the offense and the special teams bailed us out. We're going to go watch the film and really identify in practice what we need to work on.

"You're not always going to be on your A game every week, and obviously we weren't on our A game this week, but we have to get better and it starts Wednesday."

According to Reid, it could start with bringing out mats for tackling drills. NFL teams do not have live tackling against other players during practice at this time of year because of the fear of injuries.

"You're not taking people to the ground right now," Reid said. "What you do is go back to fundamentals. If you have to break out the mats, then you break out the mats and you work on it. As you teach it, you have to be very specific with each player."

Mikell said he did not think the tackling problems would linger.

"In my opinion, that was a onetime thing," he said. "Normally, I'm a pretty sure tackler. Sean Jones is a pretty sure tackler. Asante, he has been up and down, but he has been a pretty good tackler his whole career.

"That's not going to happen again."

Maclin likely out

Rookie wide receiver

Jeremy Maclin

probably will miss Sunday's game against San Francisco after suffering a torn plantar fascia in his left foot against the Giants.

A fascia is a sheet of tissue covering or binding together body structures such as muscles.

"From what I understand, without being a doctor, is that you have two strands . . . and he tore one of those strands," Reid said. "The other strand is a non-weight-bearing strand, so he should be OK, probably not this week, but possibly [against Denver]. Normally, it's a two-week injury."

Maclin's absence could force the Eagles to make a roster move at wide receiver depending on the availability of Kevin Curtis, who has missed 11 straight games because of a knee injury.

Curtis returned to practice last week, and Reid said he could have been used against the Giants in an emergency.

"He really took quite a few reps - more than I thought he would - last week," Reid said. "So that'll be increased this week, and we'll just see how he does. If he's not right, then he's not right and we'll work from there."

If Curtis cannot play, look for the Eagles to sign Jordan Norwood from the practice squad as they did before the Atlanta game.

Reid said Brent Celek had a sore back and was "tender" yesterday. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Celek's back was sore even before Sunday night's game, and he didn't know if the tight end would be able to play. Celek finished with five catches for 64 yards.

Defensive end Trent Cole, meanwhile, suffered a strained hamstring that Reid described as a day-to-day situation.

A fine situation

Cole was involved in a skirmish near the end of the game and ejected by referee

John Parry

after punching New York center

Shaun O'Hara

. The incident started when Giants tackle

David Diehl

shoved Eagles defensive lineman

Chris Clemons

from behind.

Reid said on his radio show on WIP-AM (610) that tempers had been frayed the entire game.

"There was a bunch of stuff," Reid said. "It was one of those games where guys were pushing and shoving. Trent had a few double-teams on him, and, at times, he was triple-teamed, and those guys were taking some extra shots on him.

"What happened at the end is they double-teamed one of Trent's teammates, and they buried him down on the ground and slapped him in the head, and Trent went over to the rescue, and one thing led to the other."

The league "will make a little money because there were a few guys involved," Reid said. "I don't think he'll be suspended."

Extra points

Reid said running back

Brian Westbrook

didn't have any setbacks after practicing with the scout team last week and might practice again tomorrow. The coach also said he would remain cautious on when Westbrook returns from his second concussion, which has forced him to miss four straight games. . . . The Eagles' 372 points rank third in the NFL. Only New Orleans (466) and Minnesota (389) have scored more. The Eagles need 45 points in the last three games to break the single-season franchise record of 416, set last season. . . . The Eagles' Dec. 27 home game against Denver has been changed from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. It will be televised locally on CBS3.

Eagles Notes:

Inside

DeSean Jackson dazzles himself.

D3.

Eagles look to improve tackling. D3.

Next: 49ers at Eagles, Sunday

at 1 p.m.

Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.