There was not much that was too pretty about the New England Patriots‘ 13-10 victory over the New York Jets on Thursday night. The defense for the Patriots may have been the only positive thing to come out of that game. The offense struggled in every aspect, but one very disappointing thing was the running game.
In a rainy, sloppy game where Tom Brady struggled to connect with receivers, the Pats hoped they could rely on their run game to take some of the pressure off. This did not happen for the Patriots last night — their running game was absolutely awful.
I will give some credit to the Jets’ front seven because they were playing well, especially against the run. But Stevan Ridley did not help his cause for keeping the starting RB position with an inability to find holes and to break off any big runs. His best run all night was a nine-yard run to the left which gave everyone hope that he may have a decent game, but that was not the case.
Ridley would finish the game with 16 rushes for 40 yards — not a very good stat line who is clearly the most talented RB on the roster after Shane Vereen went down and was placed on IR.
LeGarrette Blount did not have much more success, but he only had four rushes. I cannot get on Blount too much because he never got a chance to get going. But Ridley had 16 carries, and he is not in an offense where he is going to get 30 plus rushes in a game, so he has to make himself valuable in the 15 or so he will get.
On top of that, Ridley is a non-threat in the passing game, and is clearly worried about fumbling again. He almost lost one on a pitch in the fourth quarter where he bobbled the ball before finally gaining possession and barely getting back to the line of scrimmage. It was an ugly game all around, but Ridley did not help his cause.
Moving forward, the Patriots would like to see the return of Brandon Bolden, who is more of a versatile RB who can catch the ball. But if he is still banged up and Ridley continues to struggle like he has, expect to see more of Blount, who had a solid preseason and is going to get an opportunity with the injuries of the other RBs.
If Blount comes in and produces, Ridley could be seeing a lot more of the bench.