Against the Steelers runningbacks Stevan Ridley and BenJarvus Green-Ellis were reportedly still ailing from injuries that had bothered them prior to New England’s bye week.


Faulk helped take some of the pressure off of Ridley and Green-Ellis, who are both still ailing from injuries. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Green-Ellis seemed like he was till trying to deal with the toe injury that was bothering him before the bye week, while rookie Stevan Ridley was reportedly still ailing from a hamstring injury.  

In seasons past that would have forced Green Ellis to play through it and carry more of the load because the Patriots haven’t had a “go to” guy to come off the bench and help them out.

Fortunately during Sunday’s game, the Patriots had one.

Patriots runningback Kevin Faulk returned to action on Sunday, a little over a year since he suffered a knee injury that ended his season and put his career in question.  On Sunday he came back and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat, contributing both in the passing game and rushing the football, as well as doing his part to protect Tom Brady from Pittsburgh’s relentless pass rush.

Faulk made his presence known on Sunday, getting the starting nod at the runningback spot and even made a key block down near the goal line to help protect Brady during his touchdown throw to Deion Branch in the second quarter.

“[It was] great,” said Brady, when asked about Faulk’s return.   “I mean he’s such a spark plug  for our offense. He does so many things well.  For a guy who hasn’t played football in a year, it certainly didn’t look like it.”

Overall Faulk finished with 52 all purpose yards, including 5 catches for 20 yards, and 6 carries for 32 yards. Unfortunately the biggest problem was the fact that New England never had the football on Sunday, with the Steelers holding the ball for nearly 40-minutes. Pittsburgh had five drives of more than 10 plays, and that only allowed New England to run about 50 plays (not including penalties), which was about 20 less than they ran two weeks ago against the Cowboys.

Faulk made about as much as he could have from most of them, and Brady said he was glad to have him back.

“He played well, played hard,” said Brady of Faulk. “[He] made some big plays running the ball catching the ball.  I’m sure he’s going to be sore tomorrow, he took some big hits.  But it was great to have him back.”