Ground game brings balance
Houston can’t afford to ignore New England’s stable of running backs.
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. — Stevan Ridley has emerged as a top running back in his second season. He’s not the only Patriots rusher Texans coach Gary Kubiak has to worry about.
The revived New England ground game, with Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden as backups, has brought balance to an offense that relied more heavily on quarterback Tom Brady in recent years.
Ridley is third in the AFC with 1,010 yards rushing going into Monday night’s game between the Texans (11-1), who have the best record in the AFC and have clinched a playoff berth, and the Patriots (9-3), who have clinched the AFC East title.
“He’s a heck of a player,” Kubiak said. “They’ve had a few different backs back there. It’s what they do. It’s almost like anybody they put back there is successful. They play young guys. Tom has got them in the right play all the time. They’re not only running the ball well, but those backs out of the backfield catch the ball extremely well.”
Vereen has rushed for just 173 yards and three touchdowns but has scored on an 83-yard pass play. Bolden,