Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso won’t be suspended for his high hit Thursday night on Joe Flacco that left the Ravens quarterback bleeding from the ear and dealing with a concussion, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said Tuesday.
The league reviewed the controversial hit from the second quarter of the Ravens’ 40-0 victory over the Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium, and announced its decision Tuesday. Alonso is expected to draw a significant fine.
Flacco remains in concussion protocol. However, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Flacco is exhibiting “zero” concussion symptoms and there’s a good chance he’ll play Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
If Flacco doesn’t pass protocol by Sunday, Ryan Mallett would start for the Ravens (4-4).
Ravens players and coaches were furious with Alonso, who they felt had time to either pull up when Flacco slid or at least alter where he hit the quarterback. Alonso’s shoulder/forearm hit Flacco flush in the head, knocking his helmet off and starting a fracas that featured Ravens center Ryan Jensen driving Alonso to the ground and Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh diving onto Jensen.
Harbaugh yelled at Alonso from the sideline as an official stepped in between the coach and player.
“It was a real dirty hit,” Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley said after the game. “I don’t know what more to say about it. Joe was obviously going for a slide. [Alonso] was obviously intentionally doing something that was not a football move. That made us really angry. That’s our quarterback. Our life is protecting him. That definitely made us angry.”
Said Jensen: “I felt it was a dirty hit. He’s our franchise, he’s our franchise quarterback and him getting cheap-shotted like that, I feel like I had to do something to protect him and show him that we got his back.”
Alonso said repeatedly after the game that it was a “bang-bang” play and he didn’t have time to react or alter his trajectory because Flacco’s slide came late. Harbaugh disagreed with that perspective Monday.
“I thought that was a very vicious type of a hit,” Harbaugh said. “He was definitely defenseless and couldn’t protect himself. Therefore, he got his ear sliced open and he got hit in the head. You never minimize that. He is an extremely tough person. We missed him for the rest of the game. He missed over a half of football. We are very hopeful for this week, and it will be in the hands of Joe and the doctors to decide what we can do. We will get him ready to play if he can play, and that is all you really can do.”
Former Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, one of Flacco’s closest friends, told WBAL-Radio on Monday that Alonso sent the quarterback a text message to apologize for the hit.
Alonso’s hit marked the third straight game in which a Ravens offensive player was concussed because of a hit to the head/helmet area.
In an Oct. 15 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears, defensive back Eddie Jackson struck Breshad Perriman in the head after the receiver bobbled a pass that led to an interception. Jackson was not fined or suspended and Perriman missed one game.
A week later, Minnesota Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo hit wide receiver Mike Wallace high, knocking his helmet off. Sendejo served a one-game suspension that held despite an appeal. Wallace missed the victory over the Dolphins.
Several other Dolphins and Ravens could be facing hefty fines for their actions in the Thursday prime-time game. Jensen wasn’t officially penalized, but he could be docked for slamming Alonso to the ground and then taking another shot at him.
Second-year outside linebacker Matthew Judon also could be fined for his horse-collar tackle in the fourth quarter.
For the Dolphins, Suh is expected to be fined for a series of post-play actions, including his reaction to Jensen going after Alonso. Suh also was flagged for unnecessary roughness for pushing Jensen down in the third quarter and again for putting his hand on Mallett’s throat in the fourth quarter.
Miami defensive lineman William Hayes also figures to be lighter in the wallet after he poked Ravens right tackle Austin Howard in the eye during an altercation in the fourth quarter.