FOXBORO -- Bernard Pollard did it again.
First, he blew out Tom Brady's knee in 2008. Then, he broke Rob Gronkowski's ankle in last year's AFC Championship. On Sunday, he knocked Stevan Ridley out of this year's AFC Championship, and in the process, forced a fumble that led to the drive that put the Patriots away.
"He got loose, and for me, as a safety, our job is to take down a guy," said Pollard after the Ravens' 28-13 win over the Patriots. "If you get to our level, we've got to hit you. I got a chance to kind of unload. But nevertheless, in the moment we're competitive and everything else, but right now, we've just got to hope he's okay."
With 12:46 left in the fourth quarter, and the Ravens leading 21-13, Ridley got hit hard by Pollard on a rush up the middle, and the hit was so hard that it knocked him out cold, forcing the ball to come loose before he hit the ground.
"That was the turning point of the game," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. "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 youre ever going to see in football right there. That just probably turned the game around right there."
The Ravens recovered at the Patriots' 47-yard line, and Ridley never returned to the game. Four plays later, Joe Flacco found a streaking Anquan Boldin in the back of the end zone to give Baltimore a 28-13 lead with 11:13 left in the game.
Once again, Pollard took out another Patriot in a game-changing and season-changing fashion.
"I don't think about that," said Pollard after the win. "This is football, man. And me, as a player, I might laugh and do everything else in the moment, be excited and ready to go. But when it's all said and done, I really hope their guys are okay."