Monday, November 25, 2013

Brady: Ridley's fumbles 'part of learning experience'


New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley's fumbling habit has gone from an inconvenience to a problem.

Ridley has lost a fumble in each of the Patriots' last three games -- most recently early in their Sunday night showdown with the Denver Broncos that resulted in a 60-yard touchdown return for the other team.

His latest gaffe prompted a benching, and Ridley said after the game that his repeated mistakes are "sickening." Ridley has four lost fumbles on the season.

Ridley's quarterback, however, came to his defense Monday morning after New England closed out a come-from-behind victory in overtime.

"We have a lot of confidence in him and I know it sucks for him, that he makes some really good runs to start the game and then it gets knocked out," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told WEEI sports radio Monday, via ESPN Boston. “It’s just part of the learning experience and you just keep going with it.

". . . We’re going to need him down the stretch."

The Patriots went on to a fumbling exhibition, as Brady and receiver Julian Edelman dropped the ball twice, while running back LeGarrette Blount pitched in with a fumble of his own. Blount's and one of Brady's resulted in a turnover.

"We can’t go on like that. We just can’t," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday, via ". . . We’re just not going to be able to overcome turning the ball over, however you turn it over. Whether it’s fumbles or interceptions or muffed punts or tipped interceptions, whatever it is, fumbled snaps – we just can’t overcome those, not for very long.

"You might get it for awhile but in the end, it’s just too big an advantage go give to the other team. We have to take better care of the ball."

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