This week’s Thursday-night NFL matchup was ugly for a different reason.
On top of the fact that players had just four days to recover from arguably the planet’s most grueling sport, it was highlighted by a vicious hit that took Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco out of the game with a concussion.
With Flacco streaking for a first down late in the second quarter, he was met by Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso. Flacco slid to the ground and the linebacker was unable to pull up, cracking the quarterback across the head and sending his helmet flying.
The play drew a flag and inspired the Ravens to come to Flacco’s defense, drawing yet more flags.
Kiko Alonso with a vicious hit on Joe Flacco pic.twitter.com/C5lnfP6mZ5
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) October 27, 2017
Even Ravens head coach John Harbaugh got in Alonso’s face.
The slow-motion replays don’t do Alonso’s case that Flacco slid into his hit any favors. But at full speed, I must say I’m not sure I blame Alonso for trying to tackle someone running with the football and sprinting for the end zone.
The linebacker is in a tough spot. If he lets up and Flacco doesn’t go down, he could have darted for a score. We saw something like that play out last week when New Orleans Saints defenders assumed Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley would run out of bounds.
In fear of drawing a penalty, Ken Crawley pulled up, and Hundley took advantage to go in for the score.
Brett Hundley rushes in for a TD and his first Lambeau Leap! 😄pic.twitter.com/ej4PkhHYRs
— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) October 22, 2017
That Hundley rushing TD is a direct result of defenders concerned with a flag for late hit on QB near sideline.
— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) October 22, 2017
“No, no way,” Alonso said when asked if he could have avoided the hit. “That’s the target, you know. When a guy slides, his target is very small. I just think (the slide) was a second late.”
But the Ravens aren’t buying that argument.
“Kiko, I’m sure he saw him sliding,” said Baltimore cornerback Jimmy Smith. “He made a judgment call and he hit him. He may need to pay a fine.”
As far as the game was concerned, it didn’t really matter who was in at quarterback for the Ravens. With Ryan Mallett under center for the second half, the Ravens won 40-0.