It was a pretty scary scene Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was knocked out of the game after a frightening hit from Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas, who caught Rudolph under his chin with a devastating blow that appeared to knock the quarterback unconscious momentarily.
After remaining on the turf for a few moments, Rudolph was able to walk off the field with assistance from medical personnel and did not need to be carted off. The 24-year-old was sent to the hospital for further evaluation.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh already has come to the defense of his safety, saying he was certain Thomas was not targeting Rudolph’s head. Thomas also made his case with media after the game, saying it was a clean hit while sending prayers to the Steelers QB.
“I never want to hurt anybody like that. I was just playing football and I thought it was a clean hit,” Thomas said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Thomas also says he believes he hit Rudolph in “the strike zone” and was adamant that he did not intend to injure the second-year signal-caller.
Thomas was flagged for roughing the passer on the play but remained in the game. The Ravens went on to beat third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges and the Steelers in overtime on a game-winning field goal.
It remains to be seen whether the NFL will look into further discipline for Thomas. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not have further updates on Rudolph after the game.
Thumbnail photo via Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images