MICHAEL VICK said yesterday the feeling on the Eagles' sideline Sunday wasn't despair, as the Giants took leads of 24-3 and 31-10. It wasn't unbribled optimism, but it wasn't despair.

"Guys didn't really have their heads down. It wasn't really like the game was over," the quarterback said during his weekly appearance on the Tony Mercurio Show on ESPN 94.3 in Virginia Beach, Va. "It was more so of 'How did we get in this position? How did it even get to this point?' We couldn't understand that. We couldn't grasp that, at the time.

"All we could think about was to make it right, try to do the right things to put ourselves back in the position to compete through the rest of the game."

Vick led the Eagles to three touchdowns in a span of 6 minutes, 19 seconds, then DeSean Jackson ran a punt back 65 yards for a touchdown as time expired, allowing the Eagles to complete the most amazing comeback in the 78-year history of their franchise - Sunday's 38-31 victory over the host Giants.

Vick recalled leading the Falcons back against the Steelers in 2002, down 17 points in the fourth quarter, netting a 34-34 tie. But even that didn't match Sunday.

"Being down three scores, we all know it's tough. With the short amount of time, the margin for error is very slim," Vick said.

Vick acknowledged he was thinking about what plays the Eagles might use in overtime when "I turned around and [saw] the punt in the air. It was a very low punt, low trajectory on it, it was a line drive straight to DeSean. I said to myself, 'This could be good.' Because if he catches it, he could put us in a position where we could actually get a field goal."

The comeback, Vick said, "made everybody a believer, never to give up."

Allen surgery

Eagles coach Andy Reid said rookie free safety Nate Allen probably will undergo surgery for his torn right patellar tendon today. Allen went down untouched in Sunday's victory at New York.

Reid did not venture a prognosis; it is unclear whether Allen can be ready for training camp next year.

Former Eagles running back Correll Buckhalter suffered the same injury during a 2004 preseason game, rehabbed, then tore the same tendon again in 2005. Buckhalter since has played five NFL seasons, but he went through a lot of hard work and agony.

The patellar tendon connects the shinbone with the quadriceps, and a repair takes at least 6 months to heal. That doesn't mean that muscles around the tendon, unused during much of the healing process, will be strong again in 6 months.

Sunday's game marked the first time special-teams ace Colt Anderson has played much in the defense. Anderson, obtained from the Minnesota practice squad Nov. 10, figures to play more in Allen's absence, with Kurt Coleman assuming the starting role.

Sunday night will be kind of strange for Anderson, who spent a year and a half around the Vikings.

"These defenses are similar," Anderson said. "I'm comfortable with what they expect out of me."

Gotta have heart

Andy Reid, addressing reporters yesterday, predictably started to turn the focus a little away from the amazing comeback to the deficiencies that made such a comeback necessary.

"I'm proud of the players and coaches for the way they battled for four quarters. But there's a lot to learn from this game," Reid said. "For three-plus quarters there, it wasn't very pretty, and that part bothers me as a head football coach. So we will go back and learn from our mistakes and get the things that we need to do better. We will get those better.

"But the determination and poise, that part's hard to coach, that determination and poise. And this group has got that, and they showed that yesterday, both coaches and players. They all worked together to figure it out and get it right, and we were fortunate enough to have enough time to do that. And that heart, that big heart, that's what I mean, that part's tough to coach - you kind of have that or you don't have that. This group seems to have that and they showed us that last night - one of the all-time great games in NFL history right there."

Birdseed

In his weekly Virginia Beach radio appearance, Michael Vick noted that "I had two good slides" against the Giants . . . Jason Avant said he was briefly knocked out after throwing the final block that sprung DeSean Jackson for the game-winning punt return, and Andy Reid confirmed yesterday that Avant suffered a concussion. Reid said Avant was being tested, but had no headache or other aftereffects . . . Right tackle Winston Justice (knee) worked out yesterday and seemed closer to practicing and playing, Reid said . . . Mary Wong, a former financial adviser to Vick and other NFL players, was sentenced to more than 5 years in prison yesterday in Nebraska for stealing more than $3 million from the players in a Ponzi scheme . . . Comcast SportsNet's "Postgame Live" achieved its highest-ever rating, 5.2, on Sunday . . . Defensive tackle Mike Patterson was to get an MRI for a knee injury.

For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' Eagles blog, Eagletarian, at www.eagletarian.com.

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