Jay Gruden’s Cincinnati Bengals were one of the best red zone teams in the NFL in 2013. They scored a touchdown on 73.9 percent of the drives where they took at least one snap from inside their opponents’ 21 yard line.
The Redskins, on the other hand, were not so efficient. They got into the end zone on 52 percent of their red zone trips (20th).
Let’s play some “what if” here. The Redskins scored 334 points last season. That comes to an average of 20.9 per game, 23rd in the league. How many points might they have scored if they had been as efficient as the Bengals in the red zone?
The Redskins (48 RZ drives) actually made it into the red zone more often than did Cincinnati (46). Washington scored 25 touchdowns on those drives while the Bengals got 34 on theirs.
If the Redskins had scored TD on 73.9 percent of their red zone drives, they would have had 35 touchdowns from the red zone (rounding from 35.4), 10 more than they actually scored.
The Redskins, of course, did not come up empty in all of their red zone trips where they did not score a touchdown. They settled for field goals 14 times on red zone possessions.
So let’s say that they got field goals on each of those 10 red zone possessions where they didn’t get touchdowns due to relative inefficiency there. That would mean they scored 30 where they had the realistic opportunity to score 70, a difference of 40 points.
If they had scored 40 more points they would have had 374 points, exactly the NFL average. They would have ranked 18th in the league instead of 23rd.
Those lost points could have helped in the wins column if they had come at the right times. The most obvious case was the game at home against the Cowboys. Twice the Redskins settled for field goals from the red zone and they lost the game by one. In a few other games leaving points on the table in the red zone left them needing a touchdown to win or tie a game in the late going instead of a field goal.