Giants one of NFL's worst in red zone

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Giants seeing red

When the Giants had to settle for a field goal late in Sunday's game and allowed a touchdown from the 18 in the closing minute, it wasn't exactly unexpected. Statistically, the Giants are one of the NFL's worst teams at punching the ball into the end zone and keeping opponents out. They rank 28th in offensive red-zone efficiency, scoring a touchdown on 15 of their league-high 36 opportunities, and are last in red-zone defense, allowing touchdowns on 22 of the 29 opposing visits. Tom Coughlin called that the "No. 1 focus" of both the offense and defense during this bye.

Another rare late collapse

The red-zone scoring may have been predictable, but the timing of the Chargers' comeback was not. Just how rare was it for the Giants to blow a lead like Sunday's so late in the game?

It was the first time an opposing team trailed the Giants, then scored a winning touchdown with 21 seconds or less to play in a game since Nov. 19, 1978. That was the fumble game when a botched handoff from Joe Pisarcik to Larry Csonka was picked up and returned by Herman Edwards for a 19-17 Eagles win with 20 seconds remaining.

Historical hot and cold

The Giants are the second team in NFL history to begin a season by winning five straight games and follow that by losing four straight. The other team do it was the 1989 Rams.

How'd that work out for them? Well, they won six of their final seven regular-season games, including a win over the Giants, and won two playoff games, including a first-round OT win over the Giants, before losing to the 49ers in the NFC title game. John Robinson, who coached those Rams, told Newsday this week that he doesn't remember much at all about that roller-coaster start to the season.

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