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Sports

September 17, 2013

Unbeaten Pats hope to pick up offense against Bucs

(Continued)

A couple of plays that turned out differently would have left the Patriots at 0-2.

But they’ve done just enough to win with an offense nothing like the one that led the NFL in points and yards last season.

Only one team has gained fewer yards per pass attempt than the Patriots with Brady averaging 5.2 per throw.

And his completion rate of 52.7 leaves the Patriots tied with the Jets for 30th. Only the Bucs, at 45.3, are worse.

The running game is better but far below last year’s ranking of seventh in the league. It’s 15th with 3.6 yards per rush and 13th with 106 yards per game.

“I don’t think anybody on this team’s happy with where they (are),” Ridley said. “I struggled myself and I definitely didn’t get off to the start that I wanted and I’ll man up and say that.”

Ridley didn’t return to the opener after he fumbled in the second quarter as he slipped while cutting and Buffalo’s Da’Norris Searcy returned the ball 74 yards for a touchdown.

He also lost the ball in the first quarter, but officials ruled that he was downed by contact.

Vereen rushed for 101 yards in the opener then was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, “a crucial blow,” Ridley said. Vereen is eligible to play on Nov. 18 against the Carolina Panthers.

Against the Jets tough defensive front, Ridley gained just 40 yards on 16 carries.

On Sunday, he faces the team that led the NFL in run defense last season.

Anything specific he needs to work on?

“Hold the ball,” he said. “It’s early in the year so nobody’s going to be perfect.”

The Patriots and Bucs practiced together before their preseason game, but that may not help either team.

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