Cushing injury leads to NFL rule change

So maybe some good has come out of Brian Cushing’s shredded left knee.

The NFL on Tuesday voted to eliminate “chop” or “peel-back” blocks like the one that ended Cushing’s season (and may have in turn shifted the course of the AFC) last October. Against the New York Jets, guard Matt Slauson blindsided Cushing, who was chasing a running back. Slauson hit Cushing low (“chopped” him) and from behind, tearing the Houston inside linebackers ACL. The new rule outlaws those blocks even inside the tackle box, NFL.com reported.

So Cushing informally gets a rule named after him.

The Texans won the game over the Jets to improve to 5-0, but their defense was never quite the same. They got blown out at home to the Green Bay Packers the next week and suddenly had trouble getting opponents off the field without their leading tackler and defensive leader.

Cushing, who is expected to recover in time for the 2013 season, urged the NFL to look into drafting a rule that would make such blocks illegal.

“To me, it’s an acknowledgement that defensive players have to be protected, too,” Cushing told NFL.com last month. “I wasn’t the first guy to go down like this; there have been similar injuries. What happened, that’s a play that can be eliminated. You look at the play, it doesn’t need to be done. So for them to go back and really acknowledge that guys need to be protected, that’s moving in the right direction.”