Kiko Alonso set out to hurt Joe Flacco, and knocked him out of the game

Joe Flacco started his slide, and it’s not like Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso was trying to make a tackle. Flacco wasn’t going to suddenly levitate into the end zone.

Maybe there’s a fine line between trying to injure someone and simply inflicting punishment. But it’s hard to make an intellectually honest argument that Alonso wasn’t trying to injure the Baltimore Ravens‘ quarterback on Thursday night when he blasted Flacco even though the quarterback was well into his slide.

Flacco’s helmet came off and he was sent to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. (He was later placed in the concussion protocol.) He didn’t return to a game that was just as ugly as that incident, a 40-0 blowout victory for Baltimore.

“It was a bang-bang play,” Alonso told reporters postgame.


Ravens coach John Harbaugh started yelling at Alonso, and he had a right to be mad. It was as cheap of a shot as you’ll find. After the play Ravens lineman Ryan Jensen took a shot at Alonso, and Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh blasted Jensen, and the NFL will have to look at those actions too when it considers punishment.

Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Kiko Alonso, top, hits Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. (AP)

Here’s the funny thing: Alonso wasn’t ejected from the game. The Ravens lost their quarterback, and the Dolphins were penalized half the distance to the end zone. Pretty good trade for Miami. Alonso accomplished what he set out to do.

Much like Anthony Barr’s hit on Aaron Rodgers that broke Rodgers’ collarbone, Alonso’s hit was wholly unnecessary. The play was over. Flacco was going down. Because the culture of unnecessary hits in the NFL is accepted, this one will pass too. Alonso will tell us when he meets with the media next that he wasn’t trying to injure anyone, like Barr did, and it will be taken at face value. Never mind that he took a shot at the head of a quarterback who was sliding down and not at all capable of gaining another yard on the play.

Former NFL linebacker Keith Bulluck broke it down well.


There were, however, defenders of Alonso. That included a Hall of Fame quarterback:


 

Alonso might get a suspension, much like Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan did for his hit on Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams on “Thursday Night Football” earlier this season. If he gets suspended, it will be justified. Because there’s no way to look at that play and give Alonso any benefit of the doubt.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!