ORCHARD PARK — Stevan Ridley may have had no place to hide when he fumbled twice in the first half Sunday but he wasn’t hiding from the truth after the Patriots escaped with a 23-21 win over the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
As it turned out, the third play of the game Ridley fumbled but he was ruled down by contact after the Bills challenged the play. He wasn’t so lucky in the second quarter. He slipped and fell to the turf on his own but lost control of the ball, allowing Da’Norris Searcy to swoop in and scoop it up for a 74-yard game-changing fumble return for a touchdown.
“I never get too high and never get too low,” Ridley said. “Just try to stay even keel. This is the first game today of the 2013 season and all the talk before this is what happened last year. But it just goes to show that things can change day-to-day. Coming in, I have two turnovers. I can’t blame anybody but myself and just man up and come back to work. I’m just going to put my nose in the dirt and keep grinding. That’s all I can do.
“I can’t make excuses, two balls on the ground is unacceptable. I’m not going to sit on the past. I have to accept where I messed up, made a mistake and grow from it. That’s really all you can do, not point the fingers but come back to work tomorrow. I hate it and it’s unfortunate but it’s part of the game of football that I’m just going to have to keep working, keep driving and keep pushing forward. We’ve got 15 weeks in front of us and I’m going right back to work.”
Shane Vereen came in and picked up the slack, finishing with 101 yards on 14 carries while adding seven catches for 58 yards.
“Shane’s a player man,” Ridley said. “I can’t take anything from him. He made a few great catches and some nice runs and he’s just taking advantages of the opportunities that he’s given, just like all of us. That’s what we try to go out there and do every Sunday, is that every opportunity we get is capitalize on it
“Really for him, I 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 helping us to win this game today.”
Does he feel he’s going to have to win his job back from Vereen?
“Absolutely. Two turnovers, I was out of there the rest of the game. Hey, I’m not going to pout about it, just keep grinding.”