Sunday, September 8, 2013
Locker Room Buzz: New England Patriots
By Mike Reiss
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Observed in the locker room after the New England Patriots’ 23-21 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium:
Amendola draws biggest crowd: This is one of the most cramped visiting locker rooms in the NFL, and the huge crowd around receiver Danny Amendola (10 catches, 104 yards, 9 first downs) created a traffic jam. Amendola had come out of the game late in the second quarter with a groin injury before returning and delivering a clutch overall performance in which he took some big hits. “I really didn’t have my legs under me in the first half,” he explained. “Came in, made some adjustments and tried to make as many plays as I could in the second half.” Amendola said he didn’t know whether he’d be able to return in the second half. How was he able to do so? “We have good trainers here,” he said, chuckling, adding that he’d take it day-to-day when asked later whether he would be available to play Thursday against the Jets.
Benched Ridley takes the blame: Running back Stevan Ridley’s fumble in the second quarter, which was returned 74 yards for a touchdown, ended his day early. He was benched for the rest of the game. Ridley had also lost control of the football in the first quarter but had been ruled down by the officials. Ridley said the blame starts with him, while a few lockers down, Shane Vereen drew a big crowd after he stepped in and delivered a 101-yard performance. "I expect him to come back harder next week and be the player that he is," Vereen said of Ridley.
In front of family, Gostkowski delivers: Kicker Stephen Gostkowski’s 35-yard field goal with five seconds remaining was the game winner, and he explained that he has a lot of family in Buffalo and had bought plenty of tickets for them Sunday. “Things couldn’t have worked out better for me, and I’m grateful and humbled for the experience,” he said. Working with a new holder [punter Ryan Allen], Gostkowski had a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter and boomed five touchbacks on six kickoffs.
Focus turns quickly: Defensive captain Vince Wilfork said the players would put this one behind them quickly, as they host the Jets on Thursday. “Back-to-back division games. We’ll enjoy it for probably another hour or two, but we have to get back to work on the Jets,” he said.