Ridley excited to reach 1,000 yards

MIAMI -- Through the first three quarters, this didn’t look like it was going to be the day that running back Stevan Ridley would hit the 1,000-yard mark on the season.

Needing 61 yards entering the day, Ridley had been held to 25 at that point and the Patriots’ running game had not generated momentum.

But things turned around in the fourth quarter as the Patriots strung together one of their most impressive drives of the season -- a 16-play gem that chewed up 7 minutes, 18 seconds -- to essentially close out the game.

Ridley had 10 of his 19 rushes on the march and finished the day with 71 yards rushing.

“Of course it was,” Ridley said when asked if hitting 1,000 was one of his preseason goals. “But was it a reality? I didn’t know. I just knew that I was going to work hard, and God just keeps opening doors for me. I’m very thankful -- a 1,000-yard back in my second year.”

The last time the Patriots had a back hit the mark was 2010 when BenJarvus Green-Ellis finished with 1,008. Before that, Corey Dillon’s franchise-record 1,635-yard season in 2004 was the last time the team had a back reach the milestone.

“I still have a lot of work to do,” said the 5-foot-11, 220-pound Ridley. “I’m not going to be satisfied with this. I have to keep grinding them out and see how many I can get in the long run.”