Early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s AFC Championship game Bernard Pollard met Stevan Ridley in a helmet to helmet collision that left Ridley motionless on the turf. It also induced a fumble that the Baltimore Ravens recovered. And as viewers at home and the Patriots fans were worried about the well being of Ridley, the Ravens were getting a surge in momentum.
It is worth noting that helmet to helmet hits are legal on ball carriers.
“That was the turning point of the game,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said, via the Miami Herald. “That was the turning point of the football game there on the 40-yard-line. It was just a tremendous hit. It was football at its finest. It was Bernard Pollard making a great physical tackle — just as good a tackle as you’re ever going to see in football right there. That just probably turned the game around right there.”
Bernard Pollard has a reputation as the “Patriots Killer” and a quick YouTube search will bring up many videos dedicated to the heavyweight bout that is “Pollard vs Patriots.”
In 2008, Pollard hit Tom Brady and tore his ACL while he was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. When Wes Welker tore his ACL in 2010, it was also at the hands of Pollard who was now a member of the Houston Texans. And most recently Pollard’s tackle on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in last year’s AFC Championship game, hindered him giving a 100% effort in the Super Bowl as he fought off the resulting high ankle sprain.
Pollard also was proud of his hit and tried to be clear that it wasn’t an illegal hit.
“They were good hits,” Pollard said. “The league will look at it. Nevertheless, this is how I play. If they fine me, they fine me. I can’t change my game.”
This is what we’re about,” said Pollard. “We’re about hitting and guys playing hard for four quarters.”
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