Bernard Pollard did it again.
In what proved to be a key turning point -- and the scariest moment -- of the AFC Championship Game, the hard-hitting safety delivered a brutal hit in the fourth quarter that resulted in a Patriots turnover. Down 21-13 early in the final session, New England running back Stevan Ridley took off running right and broke through a hole. After gaining about five yards, Ridley braced for the impact, lowering his head, as Pollard closed in.
The helmet-to-helmet collision spun Ridley around and dropped him awkwardly to the field. Dazed as he fell, Ridley lost his grip on the ball. Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones recovered it in New England's territory. Despite the helmet-to-helmet contact, no flag was thrown for a personal foul. The Ravens had already been flagged for three personal fouls at that point, one of which was on Pollard.
Fortunately, Ridley appeared never to lose consciousness. He stayed on the ground for several minutes before walking off the field on his own. According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Ridley suffered a concussion. He did not return to the game.
Four plays after the fumble, Joe Flacco threw his third touchdown pass of the game, giving Baltimore what would be an insurmountable 28-13 lead.
As Patriots fans are all too aware, Ridley isn't the first Patriots player injured after a run in with Pollard.