A Steven Ridley injury sealed the New England Patriots loss in the AFC Championship Game but also did something else — it continued the team’s curse of Bernard Pollard.
The Baltimore Ravens defender has bounced around to a few teams over the last five seasons, but, wherever he goes, Bernard Pollard somehow finds a way to injure the Patriots star players. On Sunday, it was a Steven Ridley injury that Pollard added to his resume.
In the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship, the Ravens led the Patriots 21-13, but the Patriots had the ball and were moving for a potential game-tying score.
The Patriots gave the ball to Stevan Ridley, and, as the running back put his helmet down in an attempt to gain a few extra yards, he ran smack into Bernard Pollard. Ridley’s lowering his helmet caused him to hit Pollard head-on, knocking the running back out cold and forcing him to fumble.
Stevan Ridley’s injury forced him to remain down for several minutes, though he eventually walked to the locker room under his own power. He spent the rest of the game there, The SportsXChange noted.
The Stevan Ridley injury was especially stinging for Patriots fans given the curse of Bernard Pollard. NFL.com highlighted the injuries Pollard has levelled on the Patriots, including ones to Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski:
»September 2008: Pollard, then with the Kansas City Chiefs, crashed into Tom Brady’s planted left leg. Brady was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
»January 2010: Pollard, then with the Houston Texans, closed in on Wes Welker, who tore his ACL while trying to cut away from the safety.
»January 2012: Pollard, now with the Ravens, dragged down Rob Gronkowski, who sustained a high ankle sprain. Gronkowski was knocked out of the game and limited in a Super Bowl XLVI loss.
While all of Bernard Pollard’s hits were costly to the Patriots, Stevan Ridley’s injury may have robbed the team of a chance to return to the Super Bowl. The Ravens recovered his fumble, and four plays later scored a touchdown to increase their lead to 15 points and put the game out of reach.