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Earl Thomas knocks out Mason Rudolph with scary helmet-to-helmet hit

Earl Thomas knocks out Mason Rudolph with scary helmet-to-helmet hit

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.

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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Jets players literally lined up to swap jerseys with Lamar Jackson after Thursday's win

Jets players literally lined up to swap jerseys with Lamar Jackson after Thursday's win

Lamar Jackson has been so good lately, everyone wants to swap jerseys with him.

After Thursday's 42-21 victory over the New York Jets, THREE Jets players lined up to get a Jackson jersey and autograph.

Another unreal performance from Jackson prompted the jersey swap. Five touchdown passes, 212-yards and a broken record for single-season rushing yards by a quarterback, previously held by Michael Vick.

Players swapping jerseys at the end of NFL games has become a tradition. If Lamar Jackson continues to dominate like he has been, he's going to need to bring a LOT of jerseys with him.

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Ravens special teams lacking across the board, lone sore spot in dominating win

Ravens special teams lacking across the board, lone sore spot in dominating win

BALTIMORE — If there was a lone dark spot on the Ravens’ 42-21 win over the Jets, it was the special teams. 

From kickoff coverage to even Justin Tucker, each particular unit had its fair share of struggles. The Jets blocked a punt — and scored, had long returns on both kickoff and punt returns and Tucker missed an extra-point. 

“We played really well on special teams last week,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We played not well at all this week. So, that’s an area of concern right now. I give them credit. They played really well, but we didn’t.”

The trouble started from the get-go when the Jets had a good return on the opening kick. They carried that throughout the game, as Ty Montgomery and Vyncint Smith averaged kickoff returns of 23.3 and 28.7 yards, respectively. Smith had a long of 37 yards and Montgomery had a long of 34 yards.

Then on the Ravens second touchdown of the night, Tucker missed an extra point — a rarity for the league’s most consistent kicker. Before Thursday’s game, he’d missed just one extra point all season and one field goal. 

While it’s nothing to be concerned about, any miss for Tucker is certainly surprising. 

And finally, in the fourth quarter, the Jets bull-rushed up the middle through the Ravens’ punt team and blocked the kick for a score.

Baltimore’s special teams units have been stellar all season, so Thursday’s game isn’t something to fret over long-term. But it’s certainly something to monitor as the games tighten, leaving little room for error on the margins.  

“We just have to get better,” Harbaugh said of the returns. “They were basically blocking us. They blocked our guys on the kickoff return. They did a great job with it. They ran a little pick-stunt on the blocked punt that we should have picked up with no problem, and we didn’t. That’s an issue for us.”

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