New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley ran the ball pretty well, as usual, with nine carries for 46 yards yesterday, but he earned himself an early benching by putting the ball on the ground for a second time. Ridley’s first fumble was recovered by Dan Connolly, who clearly pounced on the ball, but Doug Marrone foolishly challenged the play. The second fumble was simply the last straw, as Ridley coughed up the ball, and Buffalo Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy took it to the house for a long return touchdown. If Ridley did not fumble the ball, it can be argued that the Patriots would have had a much easier route to victory.
Despite the incredible performance put forth by Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley does not deserve to lose his job and be thrown onto the bench after one game. We’ve always known that there are ball security issues with Ridley, and his rushing ability has more than made up for those issues to this point. Ridley knows that he needs to improve, though, and he understands why he was benched, “”It was pretty obvious, man, you can’t have two turnovers in one game and expect to stay in. The coaches had to do the best move for the team and make sure we won this game, and they picked the players that they went with and we rolled through and we’re lucky to pull out the win like we did.”
But Ridley is also keeping up-beat, and that’s a good thing. What’s done is done, and there’s no reason for Ridley to beat himself up for the two fumbles. He clearly made a mistake, but he also obviously knows that. He can’t afford to lose his confidence as a rusher, but it is definitely important for Ridley to continue to make improvements in that part of his game. I mean, we haven’t seen much improvement regarding his ball security in the past couple of years.
“I’m not going to sit on the past,” Stevan Ridley said. “I just have to accept where I messed up, made a mistake and grow from it. That’s really all you can do, having to point the finger, come back to work tomorrow. I hate it, it’s unfortunate, but, you know, it’s part of the game of football and I’m going to have to keep working, keep driving and pushing forward. We’ve got 15 more weeks in front of us and I’m going right back to work.”
Great outlook there from Ridley, and the Patriots will hope he can replicate last season’s success.