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Stevan Ridley talks running game

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  October 3, 2011 04:13 PM

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Rookie running back Stevan Ridley rang up 97 of the Patriots' 183 rushing yards in Sunday's win over the Raiders.

FOXBOROUGH -- Stevan Ridley wasn't thanking the offensive line out of obligation.

The Patriots rookie running back needed 10 carries to ring up the best rushing performance by a Patriots running back this season (97 yards and a 33-yard touchdown) and New England had its best rushing numbers of the year so far (183 yards). It came, thanks in large part, to what Ridley called "the biggest holes I've ever seen in my life"

“We’re only three games in and it seems like that offensive line has been together for a good while with the green grass that I’m seeing when I’m coming through the line," Ridley said. "I really can’t complain or have anything bad to say about them working up front. As an offense, Tom [Brady] always does a great job in the passing game. Our receivers are doing a great job blocking downfield as well as making the catches. So really our offense is complementing each other. As a unit, we’re still just growing as a unit and trying to better each other."

The Patriots lost running back Danny Woodhead to a left ankle sprain in the first half, but Ridley and BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried the ball 26 times.

“You have to be able to step up and back up each other,” Ridley said. “Every back’s got to be able to go in there and pull each other’s load when one of us goes down. That’s football and that’s part of being a running back, being able to go in there and be tough in a time of need.”

The Patriots are preparing to face a Jets team that has lost two straight and has also given up the fifth-most rushing yards this season (522). But with the unpredictability that comes with the Jets-Patriots rivalry, Ridley knows numbers don't matter as much as execution.

“We know the Jets have lost two in a row and they’re coming in here hungry," Ridley said. "We know we’re going to have be prepared and we’re going to have to play hard. We’re going to have everybody be on the same page.”

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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