Pats get huge win, Ridley's fumble could cause huge loss to the running game.

Photo Courtesy of Steven Senne

Holy smokes, what an amazing game. Beating Denver all on its own is huge for this team, but doing so in that fashion? That gives the Patriots some much needed momentum coming off of a tough loss, and heading into the last 5 games of the year.

Now I hate to be a Debbie-downer after such a great win, but I'm going to do it anyway. Ridley losing another fumble today was crippling to the Patriot's running game going forward. First of all, that fumble opened the door for what turned out to be a disastrous first half for the Pats. The worst part is that the running game did not look very good tonight, and we may not see Ridley very much going forward this season.

There is no doubt he is a fantastic runner but this fumbling issue needs to get straightened out. Once Ridley hit the bench, LeGarrette Blount coughed one up and landed himself a spot on the pine as well. From there, most of the carries went to Vereen and Brandon Bolden. Bolden led the team with 58 yards on 13 carries, but 33 of them came on 1 play, and he was never able to establish much else on the ground. The Patriots had several chances to end the game earlier than they did but couldn't seem to take any pressure off of Tom Brady with any first downs on the ground late in the game. That is really where losing Ridley hurts the most, as he has a nose the marker and helps the team by moving the chains on some critical late game drives.

While I thought Belichick was being too hard on Ridley earlier in the season, his fumbling issues have certainly become a trend, and I agree with his decision to sit Ridley for the remainder of the game. However, miraculous comebacks like the one we saw tonight aren't exactly a dime a dozen. It would be nice if the Pats could get Ridley straightened out and establish a consistent threat running the ball to help this offense stay on the field late in games as the weather gets worse and the spotlight gets bigger. 

We'll find out next week against the Texans just how deep into the dog house Ridley has pushed himself. Hopefully he finds his way out before the Patriots are in a game where the season is on the line.

On a lighter note, here is my Twitter feed in relation to tonights action.

After Ridley's fumble:
After the Broncos scored off of the Brady strip sack
After the Pats scored their second TD
After the Gostkowski field goal won it