01/02/2012 10:30 am ET

Bryan Braman Helmet-less Tackle: Texans Linebacker Makes Outstanding Play (VIDEO)

In 2010, the NFL instituted a rule stating that any play would be ruled over at the moment the runner's helmet comes off during the play. Even though a ball carrier fearlessly running upfield without his helmet can be wildly entertaining, clearly, the league made this change in the best interest of the players. I guess Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league didn't think about what might happen if a defensive player lost his helmet and still tried to make a play.. with his head.

That's where Bryan Braman of the Houston Texans comes in. In Sunday's season finale against the Tennessee Titans, the rookie defensive end lost his helmet during a Titans punt return but still went after Tennessee's Marc Mariani. Just before Mariani made it to the right sideline, Braman lowered his head and knocked the Titans return man to the ground. Had he been wearing a helmet, he may very well have been flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit as he launched himself into the runner and led with this hed. Instead, Braman may have just become a fan favorite for his dedicated -- and perhaps reckless -- play.

"I just (kept) running after him,"
the 24-year-old said, via the Houston Chronicle . "I just broke (away from blockers) and tried to get my head across my body and tackle with my shoulder pads. I guess it's just instinct"