New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen had himself a breakout game against the Buffalo Bills, and his emergence was a huge reason why the Patriots were able to escape Buffalo with a 23-21 win. Stevan Ridley earned himself a benching after putting a second ball on the ground (it would be returned for a long TD), and Shane Vereen stepped in seamlessly for his friend and fellow third-year running back. Not only did Vereen amass 58 receiving yards on seven catches (ten targets, great efficiency right there), but he also destroyed my expectations of his ground game with 101 rushing yards on 14 carries. He had himself a ridiculously good game with a total of 159 yards from scrimmage, and now we have learned some crushing news about Vereen.
According to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the New England Patriots will lose Shane Vereen for a “few weeks”, as he broke a small bone in his wrist yesterday. We talked about how tough Danny Amendola is for excelling after aggravating a groin injury, and he deserves that. But now, we have to give plenty of credit to Vereen for showing some amazing toughness and ability, because he reportedly played through a wrist injury.
Vereen’s injury means that Stevan Ridley will have to get his act together on fumbles, because there is no running back controversy now. Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount are solid, but it’s best to have a running back as talented as Ridley being the feature back and playing to the best of his ability. When he’s putting the ball on the ground, he’s clearly not at his best.
The news regarding Shane Vereen is terrible news, and it comes at a very inopportune time given the way Vereen has played and, well, Ridley has played. Ridley ran the ball well, but it’s tough to get past those fumbles. The Patriots should be able to move right along without Vereen, but his loss will certainly have a noticeable effect.