The most violent collision of the AFC Championship Game may not have been initiated by Ravens safety Bernard Pollard -- or any member of Baltimore's hard-tackling defense.
Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo upended Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta deep into the third quarter in arguably the most jaw-dropping hit of the NFL's Championship Weekend. On a first-and-goal play from the Patriots' 10-yard line, Joe Flacco threw a short pass to Pitta on a right-to-left crossing route across the middle of the field. The 27-year-old tight end caught the ball in stride and then caught a face full of Mayo. The Patriots' linebacker launched himself into the tight end, hitting him just after he turned his head around after looking back to secure the ball. Mayo knocked the 6'4" and 245 lb. Ravens player right off his feet and slammed him to the turf.
Amazingly, Pitta held onto the ball.
To the anger of Flacco and the rest of Pitta's teammates, there was no flag on the play. In the booth for CBS, Phil Simms didn't seem to think the play warranted one. But not everyone agreed.
Here is another look:
On the very next play, Pitta got the best revenge possible. He caught a touchdown pass, staking Baltimore to a 14-13 lead. They would not relinquish the advantage as they rolled to 28-13 win.