Patriots

Effort from Bolden, Ridley a vote for offensive balance

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Effort from Bolden, Ridley a vote for offensive balance

ORCHARD PARK, NY -- New England's 52-28 win over Buffalo features some gaudy numbers.
Just ask the running backs, Brandon Bolden and Stevan Ridley in particular. The pair combined for 243 of the Patriots' 580 total offensive yards.
You're correct to assume it's been a while since multiple backs have had 100 rushing yards in one game. The last time it happened was 1980, when Don Calhoun ran for 106 and Vagas Ferguson for 100 against Baltimore.
The Baltimore Colts.
Bolden's effort Sunday evening must have felt like a sucker punch.
Prior to Week 4, the rookie back had just 15 yards to his name. He exploded against the Bills for 137 and a touchdown.
And while this is a player who had at least five 100 yard games in his junior year at Ole Miss, it's unlikely anyone expected his NFL transition to look so easy so quickly.
Maybe not even Bolden. The 22-year old sounded happily bewildered about why everything worked so well on Sunday afternoon.
"To be honest, I don't know," he smiled. "I don't know if that was the game plan or because it kind of just rolled into it. We had everybody back. We had all the backs there, and we were just going in. Everybody was waiting for their number to be called, everybody was just on standby."
With Shane Vereen's activation this week, New England's stable of backs was full for the first time this season. Not that it mattered early; he, Ridley, and Bolden got just 88 yards of work in the first half. The Patriots went into the break down 14-7.
Consequently, Buffalo expected Tom Brady to air it out.
With New England's back against the wall, the Bills put smaller defensive personnel out on the field to counter an aerial assault. Not only was it a wrong guess, but it couldn't be corrected.
"We played well as an offense," said Ridley. "We got off to a slow start, but it's not about how you start, it's how you finish. For us, coming out with a win is all that matters. We're working hard every day."
Seven Patriots touchdowns, five unanswered, stretched oppressively from the third quarter on out. And the more work the backs got, the better.
New England's first scoring drive since the first quarter was an eight play, 80-yard march that was largely fought and won (63 yards worth) on the ground.
For the record, the Patriots put up just 167 combined rushing yards in its losses to Arizona and Baltimore.
"I guess if you want to call that the fix then, we'll call it the fix," Ridley said of a balanced offense. "But in-and-out of each week things are going to change, schemes are going to change. But when they call our number as running backs we have to go in and make a play and that's what we try to do. Nobody's Super Man, we just work together as a group. When our running backs are out there, whoever it is, we're just working together and supporting each other.
"As a player, we're just playing what's called," he continued. "I put that on the coaches and the coaches did a great job; they put us in a position to win like they do every week. We running backs just expect to come in and play ball."
Count this 52-28 win over Buffalo as a vote cast for balance.
"It's like how we work on the running game all week, then we get out there, we do however good we did. It just feels great," said Bolden. "That's what all that hard work and determination was for."

Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

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Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended game for shoving official

NEW YORK - Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills.

Lynch finished the game with two carries for 9 yards.

The Raiders rallied to win 31-30 on a touchdown pass by Carr on the final play, and Lynch was in the locker room after the game congratulating his teammates.

Lynch came out of retirement this season and was traded from Seattle to the Raiders. Lynch said he wanted to make a comeback so he could give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2020.

Lynch has rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

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Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

PHILADELPHIA – Despite playing its second straight game without a key rotation player, the Boston Celtics did just enough to get their first win of the season, 102-92, over Philadelphia.

Boston (1-2) was led by Kyrie Irving’s game-high 21 points, but it was Shane Larkin's floor game down the stretch that truly catapulted Boston to its first win of the season.

Larkin, who was seeing action in large part because Marcus Smart was out with a left ankle injury, provided a huge spark in the fourth before finishing with 10 points and four assists.

He drained a 3-pointer that tied the game at 75-all, which was part of an 18-9 Celtics run.

The Sixers (0-2) were led by J.J. Redick and Jerryd Bayless who had 19 and 18 points, respectively. Joel Embiid got off to a slow start, but finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Boston played with a lead for most of the first half, but Philadelphia took over with a 7-0 run to end the second quarter and had the Celtics playing catch-up for all of the third and some of the fourth quarter.

Boston was once again short-handed, with Marcus Smart out with a left ankle injury. He replaced Gordon Hayward, whose left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s loss to Cleveland on Tuesday, is expected to keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

But with players out, that opens up opportunities for others to step up.

Larkin, who walked away from a contract overseas that would have paid about $5 million more than he’s making with the Celtics, was one of those players.

Aron Baynes, who got the start with Smart out, had 10 points and eight rebounds. Boston also got another strong game off the bench from Terry Rozier who had 14 points and seven rebounds

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