'Frustrated' Ridley puts ball on ground yet again

'Frustrated' Ridley puts ball on ground yet again
November 25, 2013, 2:45 am
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FOXBORO – After an electrifying, death-defying comeback win Sunday night, the Patriots could exult in their resiliency.
 
All except for running back Stevan Ridley. Yanked after his first-quarter fumble was returned for a touchdown, it was left to Ridley to basically stay out of the way in the locker room, knowing that his gaffe made the Patriots have to call on their resilience.
 
There were other mistakes as well – a strip-sack of Tom Brady, a fumble by LeGarrette Blount, ineffective play by linebacker Don’t’a Hightower – but the timing of Ridley’s mistake and the fact this wasn’t an aberration made his mistake most egregious.
 
The talented Mr. Ridley’s fumble was his third in three games. Coming as it did – on a spin move at the line of scrimmage on his fourth carry of the game – meant that, regardless of his potential the risk of keeping him on the field was too great.
 
“It’s really about the team and how they came back from this deficit tonight,” a downcast Ridley said. “We were down 24 points and we fought back. Our team deserves better than what I’m putting out there on the field. That’s consecutive weeks with the ball on the ground and as a running back, you can’t do it. I’ve said that multiple times but I work too hard to go out there and make the small mistakes that keep setting myself back and setting this team back.”
 
With Ridley down, Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen combined for 89 yards on 23 carries. When will Ridley return from exile? Hard to say. He was given a reprieve after his fumble against the Steelers because it was a bang-bang pass play. He was taken out briefly against Carolina but returned. Sunday night, he didn’t play again after the fumble.
 
Ridley says he understands the decision to go with others.
 
“The offense leans on me to go in there and get the job done and when I put the ball on the ground, they have no option but to take me out,” he stated. “It’s sickening man. I’m frustrated. But it’s part of the game. As a player you have to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize at the end of the day. I’m not gonna get too down. I’m gonna put more pressure on myself to go out there in practice and try to change up some things. I can’t keep doing this. It’s sickening.”
 
In Belichick’s first season with the Patriots, Kevin Faulk had chronic fumbling problems. Faulk fixed his issues and went on to become one of the most valued Patriots of the Belichick era.
 
“I’m gonna have to talk to Faulk and see what he did,” promised Ridley. “For me, it will be something I have to change. I won’t be settled until I get it right.”