What's buzzing:

Shutdown Corner

Cushing suffers knee injury

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

View gallery



Through the first quarter and a half of the Houston Texans' 23-17 Monday night win over the New York Jets, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was everywhere on the field. He had three tackles and two assists, and as usual, he was tough to stop.

There are times when opposing offenses use questionable tactics to stop such dominant defenders, and that appeared to be the case when the Jets called a handoff to running back Bilal Powell with 10:36 left in the second quarter. Cushing was looking to make a play, but guard Matt Slauson appeared to roll up on Cushing, and the linebacker left the field and went to the locker room with a knee injury.

It was revealed after the game that Cushing may have a torn ACL, a report confirmed on Tuesday afternoon by Pro Football Talk. Cushing will miss the rest of the 2012 season.

"It's what we thought, obviously, he tore his ACL and we lost him for the year, and he's going to have surgery in probably two or three weeks when the swelling goes down," Kubiak said at his Tuesday press conference. "It's a big blow for our team. You feel so bad for Brian, because he's worked so hard, he's playing so well, [and] he's the leading tackler on our team."

The loss to the Texans' defense is a major one.

"He's our playmaker from the inside at linebacker and makes plays all over the field, makes plays that I don't see any other linebackers being able to make," Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said last week. "He gives you a lot of versatility. He can cover man-to-man. He can play on third down so you play every down. He can rush. He's just a versatile player that does everything well."

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

The difference between chop blocks and cut blocks are tough to discern at times, but our'erstwhile guest columnist and former Texans defensive lineman Seth Payne pointed out the difference on the play in no uncertain terms.

[Related: New York Jets make it a game, but Houston's defense comes through]

"Before somebody makes a misguided statement, there is a difference between a legal zone blocking cut and what Jets OG seemingly did to Cushing," Seth said on his Twitter account. "If it's what it looked like, that block was an either illegal roll up block or clip, depending on the proximity to the line of scrimmage. Debatable whether that was 'close line play.' Regardless, blocking from behind and below the knee constitutes a clip even in close line play."

Green Bay Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews, a teammate of Cushing's at USC, was similarly unimpressed.

View gallery



"I mean, they protect the offense. That's kind of what they do," Texans defensive tackle J.J. Watt told USA Today. "It's a tough situation. I mean, I understand. Football's a rough game, and I haven't seen the play so I can't comment on the play. But it's a tough game. Hopefully it was a legal play because you hate illegal plays, especially when players are injured. That's not what you want."

The block, which certainly looked like an example of the illegal chop, was uncalled by the crew led by referee Scott Green.

From the St. Petersburg Times in 2004:

There is a gray area between the legal cut block and the illegal chop block. The cut block occurs when a player (usually an offensive lineman) blocks another (usually a defensive lineman) below the knees with his helmet in front of the player. The chop block occurs when the same block comes from the side or the back, or when the defensive player is engaged with another offensive player and therefore defenseless.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the NFL, which has professed an increased interest in player safety over the last few years, reacts to this.

"That's in the league's hands," Kubiak said, when asked if he thought that Slauson's block was outside the rules. "It doesn't change the fact that we're sitting here today having to deal with losing a heck of a player. I'm more concerned with that."

Related video from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Jerry Sandusky sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison | Timeline of case
Resourceful Oakland A's forced to pull off improbable in the ALDS
David Stern claims owners are divided on jersey advertisements
Y! News: Massive wedding brawl caught on camera

View Comments (849)
  • Toews scores late to lead Blackhawks in 4-3 win over Winnipeg Jets

    Jonathan Toews deflected in the winning goal with 31 seconds left in regulation as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on Sunday. Andrew Shaw, Brad Richards and Patrick Sharp also scored for Chicago (45-24-6). Dustin Byfuglien … More »

    The Canadian Press - 5 minutes ago
  • Clippers beat Celtics 119-106 for 7th straight win

    Clippers beat Celtics 119-106 for 7th straight win

    The Los Angeles Clippers have responded quite nicely to a pair of disappointing losses to Western Conference contenders. J.J. Redick scored 27 points, Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists, and the Clippers beat the Boston Celtics 119-106 on … More »

    AP - Sports - 6 minutes ago
  • Nadal crashes out in Miami, Murray wins

    Nadal crashes out in Miami, Murray wins

    By Simon Evans MIAMI (Reuters) - A struggling and edgy Rafa Nadal crashed out of the Miami Open in the third round on Sunday, losing 6-4 2-6 6-3 to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. The 31-year-old Verdasco, who is ranked 34th in the world, has … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Pacers get back in playoff chase with 104-99 win over Dallas

    C.J. Miles scored 28 points and made a key 3-pointer with a minute left to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Dallas Mavericks 104-99 on Sunday night. The Pacers won for the second time in nine games to pull even with Boston for ninth place in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 11 minutes ago
  • Canada beats China and Sweden to move to 3-0 at world men's curling championship

    Pat Simmons has been in fine form since replacing John Morris as skip earlier this month. Simmons guided the Canadian team to victory at the Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary and has picked up where he left off at the Ford world men's curling … More »

    The Canadian Press - 24 minutes ago