BOSTON (CBS) — There’s plenty of excitement surrounding the high-flying passing offense of Tom Brady and the Patriots this season, but in their Week 1 debut, it was mostly grounded. That’s not bad news, though, as it was mostly due to the outstanding performance of running back Stevan Ridley.

The second-year back out of LSU has New England fans excited at the prospect of a potential return to a more-balanced offense, a development that will help make Brady’s job easier and keep the defense off the field longer. But is that excitement warranted?

According to some ESPN research, it most certainly is.

ESPN’s Jeremy Lundblad took a close look at Ridley’s Week 1 performance as well his career stats to this date, and he uncovered some facts that may be surprising. Among them:

  • Ridley’s 125 yards against the Titans were the second-most ever by a Patriots running back in Week 1.
  • Ridley’s five rushes for 15 or more yards from Sunday are more than any Patriots running back in the past 25 years. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had just four such runs in the entire 2011 season, and last year, only Chris Johnson and Steven Jackson had five such runs in one game.
  • Ridley now has 566 rushing yards on 108 carries, which is the highest rushing total of any Patriots running back through that same number of attempts.

Obviously, last week’s performance was just one game, but it’s the career numbers that should have fans hopeful for the future of Ridley.


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