The New England Patriots didn’t look pretty out there on Sunday, but they were able to add to the win column after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-16. Stevan Ridley was the main reason why the Patriots won, and his bounce back game against the Jags after a rough outing against the San Francisco 49ers is a big confidence booster for both the Patriots and Ridley.
The Jaguars run defense is the strength of their team, but Stevan Ridley exploited their strength better than the rest of the Patriots exposed the opponent’s weaknesses. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry on 18 rushes for a total of 84 yards. Ridley has been rightfully criticized for putting the ball on the ground too much, and those concerns were magnified after his fumble last game (the fumble was due to running too “high” as opposed to a case of the “butterfingers”).
So the fact that Ridley was able to play a turnover-free game is the source of increased (renewed, for some) confidence in the second-year running back’s consistency. He’s usually at his best in victories, and that’s true for this game. Ridley had some bad runs here and there, but I think more of that can be put on the offensive line that Ridley.
It was interesting to see the Patriots rarely giving the ball to the other running backs, but I’m not complaining after Ridley’s performance. He actually only received 35 snaps, which isn’t too surprising with the way Danny Woodhead has played in the passing game (added another receiving TD). What it means is that when Ridley is one the field, he’s getting the ball more often than not. I thought the Pats were going to go into this game spreading the ball around more among the various backs, but their confidence in Stevan Ridley was rewarded.
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