Forget about the red zone. The Giants offense couldn’t get out of the dead zone in Thursday’s 20-10 loss to Washington.
The Giants were so anemic in the second half that they were unable to clear the ball past their own 32 on any of their first five possessions of the second half. With the game in the balance, they had 5 net yards on those possessions, punted four times and turned the ball over on downs. It felt as if the playing surface at FedEx Field was tilted against the Giants.
All of which created an unfair burden on the Giants’ defense.
“It weighs a little bit,” safety Landon Collins said. “We know what kind of offense we have now. We have a lot of injuries on the offensive side and they’re trying to find guys to make plays and get the playmakers that we do have the ball. On the defensive side, we just try to get the ball back to them as much as possible.”
They did that for most of the second half. And in the first half they did, too. After the one impressive drive of the game for the Giants — impressive for its duration of 16 plays and 60 yards but a disappointment for resulting in a field goal — the defense held and forced a punt with 1:30 remaining in the second quarter. Then, 26 seconds later, they were back on the field, Washington had the ball at their own 48, and a field goal tied the score at 3.
“We’re trying to make plays to get the ball back to our offense as quick as possible,” said Collins, who had a game-high 14 tackles. “We’re trying to play field position with that, too. We’re trying to do a lot and trying to make a change so our offense can make plays.”
They never could make it out of the shadow of their own goalposts. And the game was at night!
This is nothing new. It was the Giants’ defense that created the team’s only touchdown Thursday night when Janoris Jenkins returned a pick 53 yards. In Sunday’s win over the Chiefs, the offense scored a touchdown and a field goal in regulation, both after takeaways by the defense set them up deep in Kansas City territory.
Collins remains optimistic that the offense will start to jell.
“At the end of the day, we know they have the possibility of doing something,” he said. “Just this past Sunday, they did something, made great plays, made plays that changed the game around.”
He was talking about the fourth-down reception by Roger Lewis Jr. that set up the winning field goal in overtime.
“As much as we can, we try to get the ball back to them,” Collins said.
And the offense, frustratingly, returns the favor.