ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Patriots running back Stevan Ridley found himself in the doghouse again after putting the ball on the ground twice Sunday against the Bills, losing one fumble before getting benched.
He was officially charged with only one fumble after a challenge by Buffalo coach Doug Marrone on the third play from scrimmage was denied, upholding that he was down by contact before losing the ball. But it certainly didn’t help Ridley’s case when Bills safety Da’Norris Searcy scooped up his second fumble and raced away for a 74-yard touchdown with 8:25 left in the second quarter.
Ridley didn’t see another snap in the game as the Patriots opted for Shane Vereen (14 carries, 101 yards) and LeGarrette Blount (7 carries, 15 yards).
Fumbles have been Ridley’s problem since he was drafted. He had a crucial fumble in the 2011-12 playoffs and didn’t get to play a snap in Super Bowl XLVI. In 2012, his banner year, he recorded four fumbles that affected his playing time in spurts.
“I never get too high, never get too low,” Ridley said. “This was the first game of the 2013 season, and what happened last year just goes to show you that things can change day to day. Coming in and having two turnovers, I can’t blame anybody but myself. I have to man up and come back to work. I’m just going to put my nose in the dirt and keep grinding, man, that’s all I can do.”
Ridley said he was happy for Vereen after such a productive game.
“That’s what we try to go out and do every Sunday, every opportunity you get, just capitalize on it,” he said. “I’m happy for him, I really am. It sucks for me, to be in this situation, but as a teammate, I have to pat him on the back and just tell him that he did a great job in helping us win this game today.”
Ridley also said he has to earn his job back.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Two turnovers, man, and I was out of there the rest of the game.”