The NFL says it is intent on protecting its players, but in a three-play span the full spectrum of insanity of the league's rules were on display.
First, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, at the end of a 23-yard scramble, slid late and was the beneficiary of a horrible call that went against rookie Houston Texans safety D.J. Swearinger. It was clear on replay that Swearinger, at worst, grazed Smith and yet was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Swearinger started to tackle Smith before he went into a full slide, so how was the rookie to stop himself? The NFL doesn't include that in its rules, naturally.
Two plays later, the officials failed to protect Brian Cushing — a defensive player, naturally — the way they protected Smith. Cushing came in on a blitz and was cut below the knees by Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. After the contact, Cushing ripped his helmet off and was in severe pain.
If you remember, Cushing suffered a season-ending ACL injury last season, and his contract extension this season had language in it tied to the injury. Cushing was carted off the field, and he clearly was miffed. A report not long after the game detailed his injury and said he will be done for the season.
Cushing should be mad at the NFL and the way its rules are structured. Smith is barely grazed and his team is gifted a penalty. Already, seven games into his NFL career, Swearinger — who issued several big hits in college and ended Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller's year in the preseason with a hit — already has a reputation.
Just got a text from Brian Cushing. Tough man! Broke his leg & tore his LCL, out for year. Says he will kill his rehab & come back stronger— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) October 21, 2013
Charles goes low on Cushing, and nothing happens. No flag, no foul. The rules say nothing about players going low like that, and that needs to change. The Chiefs kicked a field goal and took the lead a few plays later.
There's something wrong with the way that three-play stretch went down.
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Brian Cushing
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Alex Smith