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Physical therapy helps Stevan Ridley get back to productive (and winning) form

10.14.13 at 12:17 am ET
By
Tom Brady and Stevan Ridley celebrate a first-half touchdown. (AP)

Tom Brady and Stevan Ridley celebrate a first-half touchdown. (AP)

FOXBORO — Just one week away from the game made Stevan Ridley appreciate what he had.

The running back returned Sunday from a one week absence due to a knee injury and scored twice, a pair of short touchdown runs, to help lead the Patriots to a 30-27 win over the Saints Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t (frustrating), but I just have to keep plugging away,” Ridley said. “In the grand scheme of things, I think God is teaching me patience. It’s not always going to go as we want it to, but at the end of the day, He’s got us in His hands so I’ve just got to keep pushing and keep working hard and I can’t lie, I’m happy about the outcome of today’s game. It’s tough to watch your team play and be at home on the couch. It’s a sinking feeling, so for me, I had to put myself in a position to come back out here and I’m just thankful they gave me a few plays to go out there and do what we needed to do, and we were able to pull it off.”

After missing practice all three days after the win over the Falcons, Ridley had to sit out the game against the Bengals. He returned Sunday and accounted for a pair of red zone scores, helping the Patriots to a 17-7 halftime lead.

“Again, anything is possible,” Ridley said. “I went to therapy about two or three times a day and I did what I needed to do to get out here and help my team. It’s tough to sit and watch your team play and be at home on the couch. It’s a sinking feeling. For me, I just had to put myself in a position to get back out here. I’m just thankful they gave me a few plays to go out there and do what we needed to do and we were able to pull it off.

Ridley, who finished with 96 yards on 20 carries, motioned to his wrist after a one-yard plunge into the end zone in the second quarter, as if to say it’s about time to return to scoring touchdowns.

“It’s been a long time since I had been in the (end) zone, so I was just happy to be there,” said Ridley, who hadn’t scored since the playoff game against the Texans last January. “I really was. To come out here and find the endzone not once but twice, I’m blessed and thankful and I don’t take it for granted. It’s another day being out here on a Sunday getting to do what I love and it’s special. This team, the offensive line, the young receivers, (Tom) Brady, we played an exceptional game today.”

Ridley also paid tribute to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins after the game, the wide receiver who caught the winning touchdown with five seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“I’m going with Kenbrell Thompkins,” Ridley said. “He did his thing. KT has been exceptional since day-one when he got here and I’m happy for him. As a rookie, to make the game-winning catch, it gets no bigger. Tom is one of the best quarterbacks to play the game and he throws a pick the drive before, then comes out there and drives all the way down for the game-winning score. What more can you ask out of your leader? He put the team on his back and went out there and made the plays we needed to make. It’s a team victory overall. The defense did a great job of stopping everyone and we just stuck it out for 60 minutes and played some good football when we needed to.”

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