Ridley doesn't mind a bump or two in camp

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Ridley doesn't mind a bump or two in camp

FOXBORO -- After two days in shells, the Patriots put the pads on Saturday.

And in short order, Stevan Ridley was put on the ground. On consecutive plays.

It's only worth remarking upon because the style in camp is to "thump" or wrap a ball carrier then release him. But on Saturday, Ridley got knocked horizontal by cornerback Ras-I Dowling. On the next play, safety Patrick Chung grabbed hold of the 220-pound Ridley and flipped him to the ground.

While Dowling's hit seemed incidental, it was pretty clear Chung was looking to get a training camp tackle under his belt. For that, Bill Belichick sent Chung for a lap around the goal post.

I asked Ridley about the hits Sunday afternoon.

"I didn't even see Ras-I," Ridley explained. "Ras-I hit me and it was like he came out of nowhere almost. I asked when we got in the locker room, 'Where did you come from?' and he said, 'Rid, I was right there!' Man, I didn't even see him. I was just running and he hit me on the side when I was finishing a run -- coaches tell us to finish the runs, you don't want a DB running you out of bounds. Chung just kind of tied me up, but that's camp."

With more than 10,000 fans in the stands every afternoon to watch tag football that becomes bloodsport in September, any play that results in a clash of pads and a rolling human is celebrated.

And Ridley's happy to oblige.

"Everybody's excited, everybody's trying to get that contact in and we're just trying to get into football shape," he explained. "I'm not worried about it. I'm sitting at 220, a little bit bigger back. I'm gonna be on the ground some, as long as I'm falling forward, I'm doing my job."

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

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Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.