Ridley Strong Again, But Not Making Excuses For Late-Game Fumble
BOSTON (CBS) – Patriots running back Stevan Ridley ran for a career-high 151 yards Sunday against the Broncos, but he’s focused on the one play that didn’t go his way in New England’s 31-21 win over the Broncos.
Ridley was once again having a monster game on the ground for the Patriots, but with his team holding on to a 10-point lead, he broke the golden rule for running backs: fumbling the football.
The second-year back coughed it up at the Denver 37 with 5:19 remaining in the game. The Broncos took over, and if it wasn’t for a Willis McGahee fumble a few plays later, things could have gotten very interesting for the Patriots.
But Ridley was not making any excuses following the win.
“It was late in the game, you’ve got to close it out, you’ve got to run the football,” said Ridley. “I told myself before the play, I had to hold on to the football.”
“You can’t make any excuses, I messed up,” he said. “I’m sure Coach is going to have something to say about it, but like I said, it’s always another day tomorrow. So I’m going to get back to work and work on ball security high-and-tight. That’s all I can do.”
“Every player is responsible for taking care of the ball, whoever has it: quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, punters, returners, everybody. That’s always number one,” head coach Bill Belichick said after the game. “Stevan ran hard. I think all our backs did… I think all our backs ran hard and were productive. We’re confident in all of them.
Ridley did not touch the ball following the fumble, but was happy he played a big part in a Patriots win for the second straight week.
“It didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but besides that, I’m just thankful to be out there,” hes aid. “Some things are going in my favor and some things aren’t. For me, I just need to come back in here on Monday and get back to work. But we’re going to continue to work hard, that’s the only way they do it around here and that’s the team way.”
For the second straight week the Patriots rushed for over 200 yards, the first time the team has done that since 1978.
“It’s awesome, man. I just have to say, it takes a lot of pressure off [Tom] Brady. And that’s our leader, that’s our team,” said Ridley. “A lot of people key on him and our running back group has to get some pressure off him so he can be the quarterback he can be. If they’re sitting back there staring Brady in the face every play, we can’t be a one-dimensional offense.”
There’s no doubt Brady is happy to have the rushing attack at his disposal.
“I think there’s no question that really helps the way we’re playing offensively when we’re able to run the football like we’re doing,” Brady said after the win. “You just can’t drop back and throw it 60 times every game. You have to be balanced and I think we’re doing a very good job of when we’re calling the runs, we’re executing them. We’re gaining some significant yards per attempt. I hope we keep it up. ”
But even though their quarterback is pleased with their performance so far this season, Ridley and the rest of the New England backfield isn’t satisfied.
“We’re taking pride in that and we’re thankful for it, but there’s a lot of work to be done,” said Ridley. “We’re not satisfied and it’s still early in the year. There’s a lot of football to be played.”