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Red zone defining Patriots defense

LANDOVER, Md. -- Much like the condition of the FedEx Field grass on Sunday, the worst of the Patriots defense can be found between each 20-yard line.

Continuing what has become a season-long trend, the Patriots defense struggled to defend quarterback Rex Grossman and the Redskins' offense in their 34-27 win, except where offensive efficiency matters most: the red zone.

"The red zone, that's the money down. In the red zone, defensively you have to raise your level of play," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "[You] don't want to give seven points up, [don't] want to give any points up."

Despite posting 463 net yards on offense, and holding the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game, the Redskins were 2-of-5 in the red zone, and 1-of-3 in goal-to-go situations.

"They don't score, they don't win. That's sort of the name of the game," safety James Ihedigbo said. "You kind of don't want to give up those yards in the first place, but at the same time, we're going to pull our necks once they get down there, and say 'hey, they're not getting in the end zone.' That's what it's about."

Redskins drives of 71 and 75 yards both resulted in field goals after stalling inside the 10-yard line, while another 71-yard drive in the fourth quarter ended in an interception to seal the Patriots' victory.

"[Linebacker] Jerod [Mayo] made a great play down there in the red area," Ihedigbo said. "Talk about finishing a football game. That's how you want to finish on the defensive end. Making a play and giving up no points, and coming out with a victory."