21 carries, 125 yards, and one rushing touchdown. That equals an average of 6.0 yards per carry plus a Player of the Week win for Stevan Ridley. This second-year running back of the New England Patriots made his breakout this past Sunday against the Tennessee Titans and hopefully won’t be forgotten about any time soon.
Last year, Stevan Ridley was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round NFL Draft and made very little impact. He was active but did not play in the season opener against the Dolphins. He never played against the N.Y. Giants. He only appeared in one play off game. His acheivements in 2011 were fairly insignificant. But then Sunday happened. Ridley’s performance on Sunday officially showed the NFL that he has the tools to be a legitimate feature back in the NFL. He not only has raw skills but also explosions of power that make him unexpected and different. Over the past year he has become a more patient rusher and is more decisive with his cuts. He can now take advantage of his skills to get the yardage he needs.
We have high hopes for the Mississippi native and so does his team. “He did good,” left guard Logan Mankins said of Ridley. “He had over a hundred yards. We got on guys and he made the proper cuts and got in the second level and made some good runs. I think [the Titans] were getting tired.”
Another teammate, tight end Aaron Hernandez confided, “Ridley did a good job today. Hopefully, he keeps playing like that and the line keeps doing what they’re doing so we can have an effective year.”
It’s pretty rare that QB Tom Brady takes a back seat on the stat sheet to the running game but this week, Stevan Ridleys above-average performance made it happen. Of course, he did not do it alone, but his ability to break big runs adds yet another contribution to the Patriot’s already explosive offense. So here’s to Stevan Ridley. May he help make us the most well-rounded offense in the league.