Ridley: 'Better than I envisioned'

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
5:28
PM ET
NASHVILLE -- While a play involving two first-round picks from this season may have been a turning point in the Patriots' 34-13 win over the Titans on Sunday, it was the performance of a third-round pick from last season that powered them throughout the game.

Looking to fill the shoes of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who departed in free agency in the spring, Stevan Ridley rushed for 125 yards on 21 carries on Sunday. That was even better than he expected.

[+] EnlargeStevan Ridley
Don McPeak/US PresswireStevan Ridley rushed for over 100 yards in a game for the first time in his career.
"I think it's a little bit better than I envisioned," Ridley said. "21 carries, that's a higher number than what I was expecting."

It was a tale of two opposite performances for the top running backs in the game, as Ridley's counterpart on the Titans, Chris Johnson, was held by the Patriots' defense to just 4 yards on 11 carries. The Titans' defense wasn't as fortunate.

"The coaches just did an exceptional job of finding the ones that were doing well and they just kept calling them until they stopped them," Ridley explained. "The offensive line was just blocking and getting on people. There was bodies on bodies and I just had to hit my creases and run. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. I was just the player that I was and out there playing ball."

Head coach Bill Belichick agreed with the assessment.

"It always starts up front. The offensive line did a good job. We had some good holes, the backs ran hard," he said. "Stevan ran hard, broke some tackles. Our tight ends, our offensive line and our receivers blocked so it was good. A good complimentary game. We had good balance offensively."

"I'm sure (the Titans defense) was getting tired. I know I was getting tired, so they had to be getting tired too," guard Logan Mankins said. "We just kept plugging away and it was working, so if something's working, just keep with it."

Last season, the Titans' defense ranked 24th in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 128 yards per game. In two weeks, the Patriots travel to Baltimore, who had the NFL's second-best rushing defense in the league in 2011.

"We can't be satisfied. I'm not satisfied," Ridley said. "I'm going to enjoy this win today and the game that I had today but we have to get back to work on Monday."

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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