'Coach's move' kept Ridley out in first quarter

'Coach's move' kept Ridley out in first quarter
October 27, 2013, 6:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- Where was Stevan Ridley in the first quarter of Sunday's game?

Not on the field. Not even on the bench. The Patriots running back wasn't anywhere near offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels when New England kicked off against Miami. Instead, he stood on the sideline by himself, somewhere around the 25-yard line, and waited.

It looked like a benching. Ridley argues to the contrary.

"It is what it is," he said. "I know these coaches are trying to win every game that they can. So whoever they start the game with is who they start it with, and really, I care more about finishing with a win than who starts it. Because it really doesn't matter how you start if you don't end up with a 'W' at the end of the day."

New England overcame a 17-3 halftime deficit to beat the Dolphins, 27-17, Sunday afternoon. Ridley had a hand in the turnaround.

The Patriots netted just 24 yards of offense in the first quarter. Tom Brady completed just 2-of-4 passes and the team gained one first down.

Ridley took the field in the second quarter and promptly doubled the team's first down total. He had five carries on the drive and New England stole into enemy territory for the first time in the game. The series ended in three points, but what's more, the more balanced offense opened up the field.

Why not bring Ridley in earlier?

"That's coach's move -- I don't argue with that," he insisted. "I just go out there and do what I can when they call my number. So I really don't know what that's about, but that's on coach."

Ridley pointed out how last Sunday's game against the Jets started in similar fashion; second-year back Brandon Bolden got every carry on New England's first series. Two drives later, every handoff went to Ridley.

It's just the way it goes.

"We have a very unselfish group and whatever the coaches feel the best move for us to win the game and start the game [is], that's how we go with it. Whatever people may think… I just stick with my team. I'm a team player and however they use me, that's how they use me."

Ridley finished with 14 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown in the win over Miami. And as far as he would say, the bottom line is the only thing that matters.

"This week we were able to do it on the ground and in the air; it was a balanced attack and we were able to come out with a win. That's when we play our best football."