Great little nugget from Peter King about a conversation he had with Stewart Bradley after the game.
In the regular season, the Giants rushed for 5.0 yards a carry, for 157 yards a game, both league-bests. The Giants did rush for 138 yards Sunday, but they were surprisingly feeble when it counted. The offensive line is tremendous, the runners emerging as stars. And the way they ran with the season on the line ... shocking. Like the first 16 and a half games this year were a collective mirage. Afterward, I asked Bradley what happened. He said the Giants' backs did a great job using their blocks and sliding off them earlier in the year, and the Eagles were able to better fill the gaps in short yardage this game. And he had an interesting theory: Blame Manning's cadence.
"We had a pretty good idea of his cadence,'' Bradley said on the bus ride back to Philadelphia. The happy bus ride, from the sounds in the background. "When you play a guy three times in a season, you can pick up certain things. The tempo of his voice, how he puts his head up when he's getting ready to snap the ball ... it helped us today.''
This makes a lot of sense. When a team has less than a yard to go, it takes more than just being strong to stop them. You have to be able to anticipate the snap, you have to be faster off the ball than the offense.
If the Eagles had picked up nuances of Manning's cadence and mannerisms, that obviously would have been a huge advantage especially in short yardage situations.