Brandon Bolden, chain-mover (USAT Images)
First of all, take a quick look at the Week 3 workload distribution in New England's backfield:
Steven Ridley – 26 snaps, 12 touches, 43 yards
Brandon Bolden – 26 snaps, 8 touches, 100 yards
LeGarrette Blount – 24 snaps, 14 touches, 65 yards
That, friends, is a committee. If you view the Pats running back situation any other way, then you're kinda delusional. Bolden got the start on Sunday, Ridley saw action throughout, and Blount served as the fourth quarter closer. Those three backs combined to gain over 200 scrimmage yards against Tampa, so you can't say the three-headed approach wasn't effective.
Head coach Bill Belichick offered his version of praise in his postgame comments:
“I thought all our backs ran well,” Bill Belichick said. “Brandon did a good job for us but Stevan and LeGarrette, they all had some good runs, some key runs for us. It’s a tough defense to run the ball against, but we were able to chip away and at least keep them honest and stay out of a lot of long-yardage situations and that helped us."
Bolden was making his 2013 debut, having missed the opening weeks with a knee issue. He caught a screen pass on New England's first play from scrimmage, gaining 12 yards. On the team's second play, he lined up outside in a five-receiver set. On the next play, he returned to the backfield.
So it would be accurate to say that Bolden was deployed in a variety of ways, in an almost Vereen-like manner. He finished his day with three carries for 51 yards against the Bucs, adding five catches for 49. He didn't necessarily have an error-free afternoon, but it was nonetheless a nice performance — enough to earn him future touches, certainly.
Bolden averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 56 attempts last season, so we're talking about a player with a respectable on-field history, tied to a productive offense. He's unowned in 98 percent of Yahoo leagues as of this writing, too. At the very least, he seems likely to make a PPR splash in the weeks ahead. Ridley fumbled his way into this job-share, and Bolden will clearly benefit.
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