The illegal hit to Joe Flacco's head led to heated responses both during and after Thursday night's 40-0 Ravens win over the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium.
Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso hit Flacco directly in the head after he was already sliding on the ground at the end of a 9-yard scramble.
The hit knocked Flacco's helmet off, lacerated his ear (requiring stitches) and left Flacco with a concussion that knocked him out of the game.
It ignited a minor brawl on the Ravens sideline and a protective body slam from Ravens center Ryan Jensen, who was sticking up for his quarterback.
After the game, Alonso and a number of Ravens players were asked for their takes on the play.
Alonso's argument is that Flacco's slide, which came a yard short of the first-down marker, "came too late."
"It was a bang-bang play," Alonso said. "I thought he was going to slide. And then, I had to hit him because he slid too late. It was bang-bang. I don't know what else I could have done."
Alonso was asked if there was any way he could have avoided hitting Flacco.
"No way," he said. "That's the target. When a guy slides, and his target is very small, I just think it's a second late, which is why I hit him."
He did express some remorse for Flacco's concussion.
"I definitely hope he's alright," Alonso said. "You hate to see that happen to people. I truly hope that he is OK."
The Ravens weren't in the mood for any kind of remorse, however, especially not while the game was still going on. Jensen flew to Flacco's aid, drilling Alonso into the turf.
After the game, many Ravens players weighed in on the hit with varying perspectives:
LB C.J. Mosley: "You're taught when a quarterback slides, you want to aim for the head because when he does slide, your trajectory is going to be going over where his head was. Was it clean? Was it dirty? It doesn't matter."
WR Jeremy Maclin: "I thought it was a dirty play, personally. I don't think Kiko's a dirty player, but I thought that particular play was dirty."
DT Brandon Williams: "Definitely took it personally because we feel like that was a cheap shot. We are family. You mess with one of us, you're going to mess with all of us."
S Eric Weddle: "I saw it live. I'm not going to say it's dirty, not dirty. Whatever, it's football. Obviously, you never want to see a teammate get hit. He was sliding and the guy came in high. They're trying to take that play out, but it happens."
CB Jimmy Smith: "I saw it, but I'm a defender, so I really don't have a say about that. Kiko I'm sure saw him sliding. He made a judgement call and he hit him. He may need to pay a fine or whatever."
OT Austin Howard: "It's obviously not the game that we intend to play, but obviously that stuff happens. We're all upset about it. Right now, we're just hoping for the best for Joe."
Any way it's sliced, the hit definitely fired up the Ravens, who dominated in a 40-0 win at home.
Mosley said he was trying to "throw an extra elbow" and "bring the [players] down a little harder" after Alonso's shot.
"The whole team took it personally," Mosley said. "That really set the tone for the rest of the game. It was a little chippy going throughout that. That's our type of football."