The Houston Texans took a huge blow to their 2012 chances when an MRI today revealed Brian Cushing tore his ACL as a result of a low block by a New York Jets offensive lineman on Monday Night Football. You could tell by the look on his face last night it was going to be serious. Cushing is not the type of guy to visibly show pain, and he was noticeably wincing as he walked off the field.
Jets guard Matt Slauson got him on a cut block, but it was not a dirty play by any means. It is very unfortunate for the Texans, who are 5-0 and expected to compete for the AFC title this season. Most people have them as the No. 1 or 2 team in the league right now, but the loss of Cushing is going to dramatically hurt their chances.
Head coach Gary Kubiak admits it’s a huge loss.
“[It is] a big blow to our team,” Kubiak said. “You feel bad for Brian because he works so hard and is playing so well. He’s going to be missed, but we’ve got to have guys pick it up around him and got to find a way to move forward. We’re just all disappointed for him.”
Darryl Sharpton would be the obvious choice to replace Cushing in the starting lineup, but he is currently stuck on the PUP list and the Texans are not sure if he can play this season. Bradie James will need a running mate for the middle of their 3-4 defense, and it seems like that will be Tim Dobbins for now.
The Texans will not be able to replace Cushing, and they know that. They just have to weather the storm with their fantastic defensive line, but the Jets seemed to move the ball better after Cushing went down. He was the defensive rookie of the year in 2009, made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and was leading the team in tackles this season.
One thing is definitely clear—their aspirations of a Super Bowl have suffered a mighty hit.