FOXBORO -- When Ravens safety Bernard Pollard made helmet-to-helmet contact with Patriots running back Stevan Ridley in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble, the resulting chaos was difficult to sort out in real time.
It appeared as though Ridley lost consciousness upon contact. As he fell to the ground, his knee jarred the ball from his hand, causing a fumble. When players piled on one another to recover the ball, Patriots medical personnel ran to attend to Ridley. At one point, players and Patriots medical staffers were very close to making contact. It was an unusual scene where it appeared the play was still live (though it had been blown dead) while an injured player was being attended to.
"It was just a tackle," Pollard said. "It's football. He broke a hole and us as safeties, we have to fill when needed. That's football. I hope he's OK. We as players are competitive in the moment, bit when everything calms down, you want that guys to be OK. That is our brother."
The ruling on the field was that the Ravens recovered the fumble -- Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones emerged from the pile with the ball -- and the play was reviewed.
The NFL referee working the game, Bill Leavy, explained what he saw after the game:
"What I saw was the receiver was going to the ground, had both legs off the ground, no body part was on the ground. The ball hit his knee and dislodged from his hand before the rest of his body hit the ground, therefore it was a fumble and we confirmed it."
Four plays later, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco found Anquan Boldin for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make the score, 28-13.
"That was the turning point of the game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "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."