He was a blur on the football field, hitting everything in sight. He was barking at everyone within earshot, too. And when he is playing his game by pounding his opponents, no Raven might exemplify physical football more.
No, I’m not talking about
With all due respect to Lewis, again a tackling machine Sunday but obviously and understandably not the same punishing hitter he was in his prime, the physical tone-setter of this rejuvenated unit has become strong safety
Pollard was a Patriot-seeking missile in the
“That was the turning point of the game,” coach
Pollard was relatively quiet, at least when it came to the thwack of plastic on plastic, for a big chunk of the regular season as he played through a chest injury he suffered in Week 2 and, when aggravated later in the season, kept him out of the final three regular season games. But for the first five quarters of this season -- I know that was so, so long ago -- Pollard was playing like a madman and was the team's best defender.
He looked like -- and sounded like -- that guy again Sunday.
Pollard was credited with nine tackles, four of them solo. He knocked down a pass. He nearly knocked down Tom Brady on another play. And he forced a fumble with a violent hit on Ridley that echoed all the way to San Francisco. Between the white lines, this guy is totally crazy, and I very much mean that as a compliment.
And there was Monday afternoon at The Castle, standing at a podium, his young daughter hanging on his leg, calmly yet somehow still intensely talking about how he sent another Patriots player hobbling off the field.
"I can care less what people have to say. This is a violent sport. We run fast. We hit hard. Guys are big, and they're getting bigger and quicker year-in and year-out," said Pollard, who signed with the Ravens before the 2011 season. "I think for me, I love to play this game. I love to tackle. That's what I do. When you've got two guys running full-speed at each other and you have helmets and shoulder pads on, somebody's going to go down. It's not something I'm proud of. After the game, like I said, I really do hope he's all right and we'll see."
The girl in braids stirred as he ranted about how the Ravens had rediscovered their swagger defensively.
"We are a lot healthier than we were," he said. "And then, going into these playoffs, it's just been exciting for us, because you look at this team, we know and understood how it felt last year walking off the field. That was a sour, sour taste. We didn't like that at all. … Heading into the playoffs, we were not going to be denied."
And they aren’t likely to be denied against the
The 49ers, with a strong defense and a physical offensive line, can lay the lumber, too. And Pollard can't wait.
"We're chilling today. We're going to obviously chill tomorrow," the 28-year-old said. "We're going to see what's happening on Wednesday [in practice], but we gotta roll. We gotta get going. Coach is going to do a good job as far as in practice kind of lightening things up, whatever. But we're facing a team, they come to kill."