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Stevan Ridley a healthy scratch for Patriots-Texans

Stevan Ridley's fumbling problems often force him to the bench during games. On Sunday in Houston, the usual New England Patriots starting running back won't play at all against the Texans.

Ridley was ruled inactive Sunday in a response to his fumbling the ball for three consecutive weeks.

It will be interesting to see if this is a one-week punishment or a long-term plan. Ridley is easily the best pure runner on the Patriots, although they still can create yardage with LeGarrette Blount, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden in the backfield. Ridley joins offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, wide receiver Aaron Dobson and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard as notable Patriots inactives.

Keeping Ridley on the sideline long-term would be a case of Bill Belichick cutting off his nose to spite his face. No one on the Patriots' roster creates more yardage with less room than Ridley, who might be the third-most talented skill position player on the team behind Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. We'd expect to see Ridley again well before the playoffs.

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