Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso said he could not avoid the second-quarter hit on Joe Flacco which knocked out the Baltimore Ravens quarterback.
The Ravens cruised to a 40-0 victory in the NFL on Thursday but it was overshadowed by Alonso's tackle on Flacco.
As Flacco was sliding at the Dolphins 11-yard line following a third-down scramble, Alonso lowered his shoulder and hit the QB in the neck and head.
The hit dislodged Flacco's helmet and the Super Bowl champion missed the remainder of the game with a concussion.
Alonso was penalised for unnecessary roughness, but defended the hit post-match.
"It was bang-bang," Alonso said. "I thought maybe if he slid a second sooner, I was anticipating him sliding and I was going to not hit him, but it was a second late, which is why I hit him.
"When a guy slides, the target is very small. I just think it was a second late, and that's why I hit him."
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who had to be pulled away from Alonso following the play, did not want to comment on the hit, but did say officials were right to call a penalty.
"We were OK afterwards," Harbaugh said of his encounter with Alonso.
When asked if Alonso should have been ejected, Harbaugh just laughed and declined to comment.
"Thanks for asking," he added. "It's a fair question."
Alonso will likely face discipline from the NFL, but is expected to just be fined and not suspended.
Harbaugh said not only did Flacco suffer a concussion, he had a cut on his ear that required stitches without any form of anaesthesia.
"He's a tough dude," Harbaugh said of Flacco.