As thrilling as their overtime comeback win over the Broncos was, not every Patriots player was able to fully enjoy it.
Benched again after an early fumble, running back Stevan Ridley was finding a hard time finding consolation.
“It’s really about the team and how they came back from this deficit tonight,” Ridley said, via Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “We were down 24 points and we fought back. Our team deserves better than what I’m putting out there on the field. That’s consecutive weeks with the ball on the ground and as a running back, you can’t do it. I’ve said that multiple times but I work too hard to go out there and make the small mistakes that keep setting myself back and setting this team back.”
The Patriots might not have needed to be so dramatic if not for their talented back’s continued inability to hang onto the ball — it was his third fumble in three games. He came back after a brief exile last Monday against the Panthers, but didn’t last night.
He was immediately replaced by LeGarrette Blount, who also coughed it up, but down the stretch it was Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen carrying the mail.
To his credit, Ridley understands.
“The offense leans on me to go in there and get the job done and when I put the ball on the ground, they have no option but to take me out,” he said. “It’s sickening man. I’m frustrated. But it’s part of the game. As a player you have to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize at the end of the day. I’m not gonna get too down. I’m gonna put more pressure on myself to go out there in practice and try to change up some things. I can’t keep doing this. It’s sickening.”
The Patriots have rescued backs from fumbling issues before (Kevin Faulk), so Ridley’s not a lost cause. But in a year when their lack of downfield passing targets has forced them to play it a little closer to the vest than they have in the past, they don’t have time to develop confidence right now.