Pollard: "This is honestly a blessing"
FOXBOROUGH -- Renowned Patriot mauler Bernard Pollard was at it again on Sunday at the AFC Championship Game, laying some thunderous hits on the Patriots including what Ravens coach John Harbaugh called “the turning point of the game” as the Ravens beat the Patriots, 28-13, to advance to the Super Bowl.
With the Ravens leading 21-13 in the fourth quarter, and the Patriots at their own 40-yard line, Patriots running back Stevan Ridley ran right, broke into the secondary and was leveled by Pollard with a clean, hard hit after an 8-yard gain. Ridley fumbled and appeared to lose consciousness as he fell.
The Ravens’ Art Jones recovered the fumble, and the Ravens engineered a four-play touchdown drive off the turnover to give them the final 28-13 margin.
Ridley ultimately left the field on his own power but did not return to the game.
"He got loose, and for me as a safety, for us as safeties, our job is to take down a guy,” Pollard explained. “If you get to our level, we gotta hit you. I got a chance to kind of unload. … In the moment, we’re competitive and everything, but right now, we just gotta hope he’s OK.”
Harbaugh described Pollard’s hit as “football at its finest, It was Bernard Pollard making a great, physical tackle, as good a tackle as you’re ever going to see in football.”
Pollard finished with nine tackles, though he was also whistled for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Wes Welker.
Pollard already has a reputation here in New England; when he was with the Chiefs, it was Pollard who rolled into Tom Brady’s leg, leading to torn ligaments and a lost season in 2008.
With Houston in 2009, Pollard collided with Welker on a play that left Welker with torn knee ligaments. And last season in the AFC Championship Game, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski sprained his ankle after being tackled by Pollard.
On Sunday, his play knocked Ridley from the game and gave another big momentum push to the Ravens..
“I love the game of football, I love the contact and the physical nature of it,” Pollard said, “but when it’s all said and done, we just still hope their guys are OK.”