HOUSTON – Running back Stevan Ridley, who has lost three fumbles in the last three games, was placed on the inactive list by the Patriots for Sunday's game against the Texans.
Ridley has not been on the injury report, so there's no other way to view the benching than punishment for being careless with the football. Ridley lost a fumble in the season opener at Buffalo that was returned for a touchdown, then lost fumbles in consecutive games against the Steelers, Panthers, and Broncos.
They've been costly: The fumble against Denver a week ago was also returned for a touchdown, and the turnover at Carolina came at the Panthers' 13-yard-line in a game the Patriots lost by four points.
Ridley, a third-year back from LSU, was inactive just once before Sunday: As a rookie, in the 2012 AFC Championship Game against Baltimore. He had fumbled the week before, in a playoff win over Denver.
The Patriots had already designated four players out for Sunday's game, and needed to come up with three more to reach the mandatory seven who would sit. Linebacker Steve Beauharnais and defensive lineman Jake Bequette joined Ridley. Together, they joined offensive lineman Marcus Cannon (ankle), tight end Michael Hoomanawanui (knee), receiver Aaron Dobson (foot), and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (knee).
For the Texans, tackle Andrew Gardner, DE Tim Jamison, G Alex Kupper, LB Ricky Sapp, S Jawanza Starling, G Cody White and QB T.J. Yates are inactive.