New England Patriots starting running back Stevan Ridley is currently the NFL’s fifth leading rusher. Ridley has rushed for over 100 yards in three of the Patriots first five games. And while Ridley’s success has certainly catapulted the Patriots forward into contention, Ridley may be lacking some confidence which is needed for the Patriots to keep winning.
The Patriots currently sit at 3-2 and atop the AFC East. In the three games the Patriots have won, Ridley has rushed for over 100 yards and has scored at least one touchdown. In the two games the Patriots have lost, Ridley has been limited to less than 100 yards rushing and has failed to score. It’s clear that Ridley has to perform to a certain level for the Patriots to be successful.
Ridley’s 151 yard performance against the Denver Broncos last week was impressive. But something that stood out was his lost fumble with 5:27 remaining in the game. It was Ridley’s second fumble in two weeks and the first lost fumble of his career.
It would seem that Ridley’s stellar performances this year would have him overflowing with confidence but that may not be the case. In 2011 Patriots head coach Bill Belichick benched Ridley for ball protection issues even though he only fumbled once. This year Ridley has now fumbled twice and in two consecutive games which could hurt that built confidence.
With the Patriots still missing key players Julian Edelman and Aaron Hernandez, Ridley needs to perform at a certain level for the team to continue this run of wins. But with this latest trend of losing the ball, Ridley’s confidence must be waning. While he claims these recent fumbles don’t bother him, it would seem likely that his ball security issues will have an effect on his play. If Ridley can shake off these fumbles and continue to play the way he has recently, the Patriots will continue to succeed. If not, the AFC favorites may have a tough time in the near future.