FOXBOROUGH — The loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who underwent surgery Monday morning to repair a fracture in his left forearm suffered in Sunday’s 59-24 romp of the Indianapolis Colts, certainly left the Patriots without a huge offensive weapon.
And while it wasn’t certain how the Patriots planned to respond, especially with a short week to prepare before Thursday night’s road game against the New York Jets, running back Stevan Ridley said the team would have to rally around the setback to Gronkowski, who made seven receptions for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Colts.
“It’s called a ‘team’ for a reason, man,” said Ridley, who seemed to relish the opportunity to help pick up the slack with the running game. “Gronk’s a vital part, but we have other teammates who have to step up and get the job done.
“That’s what we’re going to try to do, the best we can as a unit,” Ridley said. “So for us, we’ve just got to keep playing football and hope that Gronk recovers quick and he’ll be back as soon as he can.”
Asked how the running game might help fill the void, Ridley replied, “Man, coach can call the plays and with the personnel [we have], we’re going to roll. So they’re going to make their adjustments, they’re going to do their job and we’re going to go out there and play football.”
Ridley rushed for 65 yards on 12 carries in the first meeting against the Jets, a 29-26 overtime triumph Oct. 21 at Gillette Stadium. He rushed for 28 yards on 13 carries and one TD vs. the Colts.
“Some games it’s going to be there and some games it’s not,” Ridley said of the rushing attack. “We’re playing a professional sport here, so for us, we just have to keep working and I think the running game will come around. It’s been fine all year and those guys have been working hard for me up front.”