Matt Slauson might not want to take a trip to Houston anytime soon. The Jets' guard is taking a lot of heat for his cut-block on Texans LB Brian Cushing, which resulted in a torn ACL for the team's defensive MVP. The Texans confirmed the knee injury Tuesday, meaning Cushing is lost for the season -- a devastating blow.
It happened in the second quarter of the Texans' 23-17 win Monday night at MetLife Stadium. On a run off right tackle, Slauson dived at Cushing's lower legs from behind. No penalty flag was thrown, but it appears that Slauson made an illegal block because of where it occurred. The Houston Chronicle did a comprehensive breakdown of the play and the rules, determining it was illegal because it came outside the "clipping zone."
Rex Ryan, speaking Tuesday on his weekly spot on 98.7 ESPN New York, said at first that he didn't remember the play after watching the tape. Then he added, "I would never question our guys as far as trying to injure someone or try and do something not in the confinement of the rules."
Ryan said he "would definitely question" the criticism that Slauson is receiving, adding, "I never saw anything specifically; I was just watching our game tape. I'll say this: We got rolled up a few times in our game, and sometimes in this game you have to be fortunate to avoid some injury. I don't know what happened in Brian's case. Obviously he's a tremendous football player and I hate to see any player suffer a serious injury."
The Jets lost NT Kenrick Ellis to a sprained MCL in the fourth quarter on a similar, but not identical play. RG Ben Jones, pulling to his left, used a cut-block technique on Ellis. But Jones hit Ellis in the thigh area, not as the knees, and he blocked him from the side, not from behind. It's hard to imagine it was retribution for the Cushing hit.