RED ALERT: Giants offense struggles in red zone vs. Redskins

Despite a supreme effort to kill the clock and play keepaway from Robert Griffin III, the Giants offense was unable to enjoy success when they entered the red zone — err, green zone?

Whatever you call it, the Giants struggled in it.

The Giants officially made it into the red zone twice, scoring on one of those possessions. But let’s view as when they were in scoring distance — there was the touchdown to Marcellus Bennett and four Lawrence Tynes field-goal attempts (three were successful).

On the season, the G-Men own the 22nd-ranked red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 49 percent of their possessions in the red zone. So what’s vexing the Giants’ offense?

“We’ve been going through it all year,” said running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who rushed for 103 yards last night. “It’s just something we’ve got to work on and go back to the books. We’ve just got to finish every play and we didn’t.”

The big issue last night: penalties.

The Giants matched a season-high six penalties in the first half and finished with nine on the night.

All but two drives began on the Giants’ 15-yard line or deeper, and with such unfavorable starting field position, having a parade of yellow flags raining down on the offense added to the struggles.

“Penalties come into it and our field position. They had us backed up but we had some good long drives. We got in tight in the red zone but they stepped up and made some plays,” said Eli Manning, who threw for 280 yards and the team’s lone touchdown. “They got us into some third and long situations and we weren’t able to get first downs.”

Head coach Tom Coughlin had no answer for the high volume of penalties. But despite the offense’s struggles in the red zone, it was their inability in the fourth quarter to even muster a first-down.

In the second half, the Giants punted thrice in four possessions after not having to send Steve Weatherford out for the entirety of the first 30 minutes.

Simply put, a frustrated Manning blamed the offense — that in the last meeting with Washington was the difference in the game — for the loss.

“We had to drive the ball down and get scores (in the fourth quarter),” Manning said. “And we couldn’t do it.”

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