Amid positives, Ridley focused on fumble

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Despite finishing with a career-best 151 yards on 28 rushes, Patriots running back Stevan Ridley said it was his late-game fumble that stood out more from his team's 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos.

"The negative, no doubt. I'm being honest, it's the negative," Ridley said. "But I'm not hanging my head on it. I've been a hard worker, I'm coming back to work on it on Monday."

The fumble rekindled memories of Ridley's rookie season in 2011, during which a pair of late-season fumbles dramatically curtailed his workload as the team advanced to Super Bowl XLVI. It was Ridley's second fumble in as many weeks, and it delivered a shot of life into the Broncos' offense, which had narrowed the gap to just 10 points midway through the fourth quarter.

Ridley says he was aware that Denver was being more aggressive on defense in its attempts to force the strip, but made no excuses for his error.

"Absolutely. It was late in the game, you've got to close it out, you've got to run the football," he said. "I told myself before the play, I had to hold on to the football, before I went out on that series. Like I said, they're getting paid to play too. You can't make any excuses, I messed up. I'm sure Coach is going to have something to say about it, but like I said, it's always another day tomorrow. So I'm going to get back to work and work on ball security high-and-tight. That's all I can do."

The play arguably was the lone negative from Ridley's day, which was his third 100-plus-yard effort through five games this season. He says improving his ball security is a must, and that fumbling ties into his confidence.

"It's growing, but there's things holding it back today," Ridley replied when asked if a game like Sunday's improves his confidence. "Fumbling at the end, that kills me, and that's something you can't feel sorry for yourself about, you just have to improve and focus. I've got to get better at that. For me, that's my low of the night.

"There was some good things up front. I don't want to take anything away from the offensive line, they did a tremendous job up front, but me as an individual, I have to improve on holding onto the football in the fourth quarter."