Illegal? Definitely. Dirty? Maybe. Deserving of a "hey, you really have to be more careful around our precious quarterbacks" fine? Arguable, but it's certainly not the dumbest thing the NFL has made an example of. But calling for ejections, suspensions, and treating Kiko Alonso like some degenerate cheap shot artist? Yeah, uh, bit much if you ask me.
With the state of the NFL's watchability being fleeting, keeping the few and the fragile that can actually sling the ball around the yard with any accuracy healthy and upright should be a priority. I mean that in theory, since - at the risk of adding insult to injury - I don't think QB play as a collective takes all that much of a hit (pardon the pun) with Joe Flacco on the shelf. Regardless, the point is that I am all for protecting quarterbacks, but when are we going to hold quarterbacks responsible for protecting themselves?
Break that play down by the millisecond if you so choose. Run it back and freeze frame it where you Kiko Alonso made the conscious choice to deliver a blow to a guy who had given himself up, and then look in the mirror and slap the stupid out of yourself. We are talking about the biggest, strongest, fastest, and most instinctive athletes on the goddamn planet. It's nearly impossible for any of us to appreciate the speed with which professional football is played when we are watching it on television, and we damn sure can't appreciate it when we use said television to slow it to a snail's pace.
You realistically couldn't even fit in a blink during the time period between when each person left their feet. It sucks that the impact caused a removal of the helmet that was supposed to prevent the scrambling of the brain that knocked the Ravens starting signal caller out of the game, but Kiko Alonso's hit was only as late as Joe Flacco's slide. Don't let the fact that the latter plays a relatively baby'd position fool you because when you leave the pocket and come barreling toward the first down marker on 3rd down, you look a hell of a lot like a less coordinated version of any other offensive player. In conjunction with one another, that play went from harmless to dangerous, but the person being criticized shouldn't be the one whose tardiness was in making the fundamental play that keeps him employed. Even if his absence from the field would mean a hell of a lot less to our viewing experience.
This "defensive" play, on the other hand...