In the locker room
There was nothing dramatic about Brian Cushing's departure from the Monday Night Football stage. No carts. No super noticeable limp.
But the end result is still just as damaging to the Houston Texans' defense. Cushing — arguably the steady heartbeat at the center of the NFL's No. 1 defense, in contrast to J.J. Watt's bursts of spectacularity — was knocked out of the game with a left knee injury.
The football-berserk Cushing leaving a Monday Night Football game being played in his home state of New Jersey says plenty about how serious it could be. Texans running back Arian Foster immediately went over to Cushing when he was on the sideline.
The linebacker got hurt when Jets left tackle Matt Slauson delivered a questionable chop block to him on a second quarter play. Cushing went to the sideline to be examined before walking to the locker room as his team played on without him.
Of course, it's hard for a Texans franchise that uses a cut-blocking scheme (rules legal, but still somewhat controversial) to complain too loud about another team's blocking. Still, Slauson's seemed to go over the line from borderline legal to dirty on the extremely low hit.
This is the fourth controversial play done against the Texans in the last three weeks, joining the back-to-back late hits against quarterback Matt Schaub in Denver and the pulling of linebacker Brooks Reed's long hair by the Tennessee Titans.