EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Giants were the worst team in the NFL last season inside their opponent's 20, and things have gotten worse at least statistically _ under new coach Tom Coughlin.
On Sunday, the Giants scored just six points in three trips to the red zone in a 28-13 loss to the Detroit Lions that snapped their four-game winning streak.
That's like the great steel curtain for us,'' Giants center Shaun O'Hara said Monday.It seems like every week it's something new. We practice it every week and we have plays set up, good plays, and that just seems to be our Achilles' heel right now.''
The Giants (4-2) have been inside their opponent's 20-yard line 21 times this season and scored just seven touchdowns and 67 points. The 33.3 TD percentage is the worst in the NFC and the tied for the second-worst in the league with Oakland and Miami. Buffalo is the worst at 25 percent.
A year ago, the Giants scored touchdowns on 38.3 percent of their trips into the red zone.
What's remarkable about the Giants this year is that they are moving the ball on offense, averaging 357.3 yards.
It's killing us right now,'' quarterback Kurt Warner said.We would be in so much better shape had we capitalized on the opportunities we had this year. We just have to find a way to do it because we have a lot of good football teams we're playing in the stretch run.''
The Giants seemingly found some solutions to their red-zone problems with some fade routes to tight end Jeremy Shockey in road victories over Green Bay and Dallas before their bye week.
In both games, Shockey caught touchdown passes.
Against the Lions, the Giants didn't use the play in the red zone.
Coughlin said the Lions lined their four defensive backs across the back of the end zone in a zone formation, which would have allowed them to double cover Shockey on a fade route.
Warner said the Giants had other plays that could easily have worked had they been executed better.
If it's not the best call, so what,'' Warner said.We have to make it work. That's our job. We have to find a way to get it done, and to me it has nothing to do with the play calling. It's us executing on the field.''
Giants fans weren't too thrilled about some of the calls.
Midway through the second quarter, Coughlin elected to run Ron Dayne on a third-and-1 from the 1. The former Heisman Trophy winner, who has never done a good job as a power runner, was hit at the 2 and did a good job to get back to the line of scrimmage.
``We did not block one guy at the point of attack,'' Coughlin said, adding that the line never adjusted to a change in Detroit's formation.
New York's second trip inside the red zone ended in the final minute of the half when Chris Cash picked off a pass by Warner in the back of the end zone.
Warner took the blame, saying he did not put enough juice on the pass to an open Amani Toomer. Warner also didn't throw it in a spot where only Toomer could make a play.
The Giants' other trip into the red zone came on 14-play, 76-yard march that spanned the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. New York, trailing 14-10, got a first down at the 13 but had to settle for a field goal when three plays netted only 6 yards.
Warner threw an incompletion on third down while being hurried.
Detroit, which scored touchdowns on its four trips into the red zone, got one on the next series to ice the game.
We failed to put the ball in the end zone based on execution, that's exactly what it is,'' Coughlin said.In order to win in the National Football League, you must play above the Xs and Os. I did not see that happen yesterday on our football team with the exception of a few plays.''