Every matchup between the Ravens and Steelers is a physical battle, with big hits and fast collisions all over the field. In a rivalry game in the sport of football, scary moments can be difficult to avoid.
Sunday afternoon brought us one of this rivalry’s scariest moments yet when two Ravens defenders crunched Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.
WARNING: MAY BE TOUGH TO WATCH— Tyler Wiederhoeft (@TDWiederhoeft) October 6, 2019
Mason Rudolph literally just got knocked unconscious.
I don't know if I've ever actually seen that before.
Hope he's alright. His head hit very very hard. pic.twitter.com/MJUD1kzWTr
Earl Thomas, the Ravens’ high-priced free safety, was the biggest culprit in this heart-stopping moment. Thomas comes up under Rudolph as the quarterback is releasing the ball, and the crown of his helmet hits Rudolph on the side of his face and head.
Helmet-to-helmet hits are scary enough, but doubly so when the player being hit immediately falls motionless to the ground.
CBS’ cameras showed Rudolph laying on the ground, completely still, after the hit. Slow-motion replays captured the collision in detail, and the quarterback appeared to lose consciousness before he even hit the ground.
Players from both teams were visibly upset, with JuJu Smith-Schuster nearly falling to the ground out of shock at the sight of his quarterback on the ground. A few players appeared to be brought to tears.
The game halted while a medical team came out to tend to Rudolph, even removing the facemask off his helmet. The cart was brought out, but went unused as Rudolph slowly walked off the field under his own power.
Rudolph could be seen smiling and telling his teammates he was “good” after waking up, but that doesn’t make the hit any easier to digest. It’s the exact type of play the NFL has worked hard to phase out of the game, and Earl Thomas was hit with a 15-yard penalty when play resumed.
Some observers on Twitter felt Thomas’ hit was dirty enough to warrant an ejection, though that would have been an extreme measure. Ultimately, the penalty was fully deserved, but probably sufficient.
What matters most at the end of the day is Rudolph’s health. CBS reported in the 4th quarter that the quarterback was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation, but the fact that he walked off the field on his own is as good a sign as we could have hoped for at this point.
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