FOXBORO (CBS) – When the Patriots and Ravens face off in the AFC Championship on Sunday, Tom Brady will face one of the biggest foes in Patriots history.
Safety Bernard Pollard, the man who ended Brady’s season in Week 1 of the 2008 NFL season, is now employed by the Ravens. Brady was asked about the hit that ended his season three years ago, but shrugged off all the talk.
“Injuries are a part of the game. I hate being injured (and) that was a tough one but I’ve moved on, he’s moved on to some different teams,” said Brady. “He’s a very good player, fits in this scheme very well. I don’t think too much about that injury or anything. I just really try to be the best QB I can be.”
Pollard’s hit caused a stir in the NFL, and led to a new rule where defenders on the ground are not allowed to lunge at quarterback’s knees or below.
The Ravens safety was a little less flattering towards Brady when asked about the hit this week.
“That’s the pretty boy. That’s the man of the NFL. That’s Mr. Do-It-All,” Pollard told reporters on Wednesday. “So everybody is going to hold that against me but I don’t care.”
Patriots offensive line Brian Waters was on that Kansas City team in 2008. When asked what kind of blowback Pollard received for that hit, Waters was quick to say there wasn’t any.
“If you know Bernard, you know there wasn’t much blowback from him,” said Waters. “He took pride in the fact that he was able to get a hit on Tom, and he’s not going to live that down one way or the other.”
“He’s a guy that takes pride in putting hits on people, being physical. So he’s never going to back down or have any kind of regrets for that,” added Waters.
More From Waters
Waters has been a great addition to the team this season, making an immediate impact to the New England offensive line.
Here are a few more of the things the 12-year veteran had to say about Sunday’s matchup with the Ravens.
Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is the best: “He’s as good as there is in the game at that position. His ability to play all over the defensive line, his ability to have power and athletic ability to go along with that size, it’s something that you really can’t account for until you’re out there. You really don’t know how strong he is, and how athletic he is for a big man until you’re actually on the field with him.
Ravens are physical: “This will be the most physical front we’ve faced all year, and that’s something that, you know, if you watch film it doesn’t take long to figure that’s what they drive and thrive upon. Being physical, really trying to overwhelm you on defense, getting to the ball, going after the football, the way they hit, the way they attack the quarterback, the way they shed blockers. I mean, that’s definitely the emphasis of their football team.”
10 years ago today, the Patriots and the NFL changed forever. Thursday is the anniversary of the famous “Tuck Rule” game against the Oakland Raiders, which propelled the Patriots to their first Super Bowl Championship.
While the memories are great for fans, head coach Bill Belichick said the team is focused on the present.
“It was a great game, it was a great night and of course a lot of fond memories but [we’re] really just trying to get on to Baltimore,” said Belichick. “We’ve had a lot of big wins in the past, we’ve had a lot of great games, we’ve lost games. Right now none of those really I think have too much impact on what’s going on this week. We’re really trying to keep our sights focused on Sunday’s game. It’s a one-game season, we’ve worked all year for that. We’ve worked hard for the last six months to put ourselves in that position and now it’s time for us to go out there and do our best with it. With all due respect to other games, other teams, other situations, it’s really not the forefront now.”
Defense Wins Championships?
Quarterback Tom Brady also took the podium today, and between questions about his missing Wednesday’s practice, was asked about being the only elite offense left in the playoffs.
Is Brady surprised it’s three prolific defenses and one powerful offense in the NFL’s final four?
“That’s a great question. I think every week it’s really a matter of how you play; it’s not so much of what you’ve done or what you’ve accomplished,” said Brady. “Like last week was a great week for us but the only thing that did for us was to get us in position to play this week so we start fresh again. There is nothing that we can do from last week, hopefully we can build on the things that we’re doing well but at the same time you realize the ball is going to be kicked off, there’s going to be 60 minutes on the clock and whoever makes the most plays is going win.”
“Plays from last week aren’t going to count anymore,” he said. “So we have to do it again. All the preparation that we put in last week, and all the practices and all the walkthroughs were important but at the same time, we have to put just as much in this week because if you don’t, you don’t play well. It doesn’t matter what you did last week, you’ll be sitting at home watching and nobody really wants to be doing that. I think the guys really commit themselves to coming here and doing what they need to do to prepare themselves. Hopefully we can go out there and play really well. We’re very fortunate to be playing in this game. It’s hard to get to this game. There are some great teams that aren’t playing this week. We’re one of the teams that are playing so hopefully we’re going to go out there and take advantage of it.”
Tune in to the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens Sunday, January 22 at 3pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins with a special two-hour Patriots GameDay on WBZ at 11:00am, with Patriots Preview beginning at noon on the Hub!