The New York Giants offense has the potential to be explosive, but if Big Blue has any designs on hosting Super Bowl XLVII, their ongoing problems in the red zone must be rectified.
Rather than cash in, the Giants have been seeing red inside the opponent's 20-yard line thus far this preseason. New York went 0-for-4 in Sunday's 20-12 preseason loss to the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium and is 0-for-6 in two games. Despite some flashes on offense -- Eli Manning was 8-of-17 for 91 yards passing; David Wilson and Andre Brown rushed for 34 and 36 yards, respectively, on eight carries apiece -- the inability to punch it in for six left coach Tom Coughlin annoyed at the lack of results.
"I'm disappointed tonight, we didn't make any plays," Coughlin said. "Might have made one or two, but certainly nowhere near enough. We had many opportunities and then didn't come away with anything.
"We were down in scoring territory a bunch of times and didn't come away with touchdowns, so that continues to be an area of concern for us. Too many penalties tonight, starting with mine, which was foolish."
In addition to the penalties, including one Coughlin took for unsportsmanlike conduct late in the first half, the Giants' failure to finish rankled the head coach's feathers. On the Giants' first drive, Brown was stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the Colts' 7-yard line, wasting Wilson's 21-yard-run and a pass interference call that placed the Giants in scoring position.
"I'm just upset about the opportunities that we lost in the red zone area," Brown said. "We are going to try to get better next week as far as that goes and we will continue to work. That's all we can continue to do.
Working in hurry-up mode, Manning would lead the Giants to the Colts' five in the second quarter, a drive that included Brown's 8-yard run on fourth-and-1.
Manning later marched the Giants down to the Colts' 5 in hurry-up mode in the second quarter and Brown converted on a fourth-and-1 to get them down to the Colts' 5. But the Giants had to settle for a field goal. That's when New York's offense went cold again. Wilson was stuffed for a 4-yard loss and two straight Manning incompletions led to Josh Brown's second field goal.
The most frustrating part of the evening came late in the second quarter after Jayron Hosley's interception of Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck thwarted a Colts drive. Giants reserve QB David Carr led a six-play, 28-yard drive that stalled at the Colts' 12, which forced Brown to convert a 45-yard field goal following Coughlin's penalty.
In another season ripe with good expectations, it's obvious what the Giants have to improve -- and quickly.
"It's something we've got to get better at," Manning said of Big Blue's red-zone woes. "We had three opportunities with that first group of getting down there inside the five-yard line or near it and not get any touchdowns. So obviously that's something where we've got to get better and make sure that we're having good drives and getting the ball that close to the end zone to finish up with seven points instead of settling for three or in one case get nothing when we went for it on fourth down and didn't convert."