Effort from Bolden, Ridley a vote for offensive balance

Effort from Bolden, Ridley a vote for offensive balance
September 30, 2012, 10:51 pm
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ORCHARD PARK, NY -- New England's 52-28 win over Buffalo features some gaudy numbers.
Just ask the running backs, Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley in particular. The pair combined for 243 of the Patriots' 580 total offensive yards.
You're correct to assume it's been a while since multiple backs have had 100 rushing yards in one game. The last time it happened was 1980, when Don Calhoun ran for 106 and Vagas Ferguson for 100 against Baltimore.
The Baltimore Colts.
Bolden's effort Sunday evening must have felt like a sucker punch.
Prior to Week 4, the rookie back had just 15 yards to his name. He exploded against the Bills for 137 and a touchdown.
And while this is a player who had at least five 100 yard games in his junior year at Ole Miss, it's unlikely anyone expected his NFL transition to look so easy so quickly.
Maybe not even Bolden. The 22-year old sounded happily bewildered about why everything worked so well on Sunday afternoon.
"To be honest, I don't know," he smiled. "I don't know if that was the game plan or because it kind of just rolled into it. We had everybody back. We had all the backs there, and we were just going in. Everybody was waiting for their number to be called, everybody was just on standby."
With Shane Vereen's activation this week, New England's stable of backs was full for the first time this season. Not that it mattered early; he, Ridley, and Bolden got just 88 yards of work in the first half. The Patriots went into the break down 14-7.
Consequently, Buffalo expected Tom Brady to air it out.
With New England's back against the wall, the Bills put smaller defensive personnel out on the field to counter an aerial assault. Not only was it a wrong guess, but it couldn't be corrected.
"We played well as an offense," said Ridley. "We got off to a slow start, but it's not about how you start, it's how you finish. For us, coming out with a win is all that matters. We're working hard every day."
Seven Patriots touchdowns, five unanswered, stretched oppressively from the third quarter on out. And the more work the backs got, the better.
New England's first scoring drive since the first quarter was an eight play, 80-yard march that was largely fought and won (63 yards worth) on the ground.
For the record, the Patriots put up just 167 combined rushing yards in its losses to Arizona and Baltimore.
"I guess if you want to call that the fix then, we'll call it the fix," Ridley said of a balanced offense. "But in-and-out of each week things are going to change, schemes are going to change. But when they call our number as running backs we have to go in and make a play and that's what we try to do. Nobody's Super Man, we just work together as a group. When our running backs are out there, whoever it is, we're just working together and supporting each other.
"As a player, we're just playing what's called," he continued. "I put that on the coaches and the coaches did a great job; they put us in a position to win like they do every week. We running backs just expect to come in and play ball."
Count this 52-28 win over Buffalo as a vote cast for balance.
"It's like how we work on the running game all week, then we get out there, we do however good we did. It just feels great," said Bolden. "That's what all that hard work and determination was for."