Cushing 'wasn't feeling that great' on INT

Cushing 'wasn't feeling that great' on INT
September 12, 2013, 10:15 am
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Brian Cushing walks off the field in San Diego after the Texans' Week 1 win.

(USA Today Images)

In a way, intercepting the ball was the easy part.

In his first regular season game in 11 months, Brian Cushing made a stupendous diving interception in the fourth quarter. Then, untouched, the Texans’ middle linebacker got up and ran the ball into the end zone for a touchdown.

But that last part -- running 18 yards into the end zone -- wasn’t so easy.

As his teammate, J.J. Watt explained on Wednesday, after Cushing intercepted the pass, he landed on the ball, which knocked the wind out of him.

“Yeah, I wasn’t feeling that great,” said Cushing, who added that his adrenaline helped him get into the end zone.

Watt said Cushing’s first career touchdown reminded him of his interception return for a touchdown in the playoffs two years ago. Watt returned that one 29 yards for a score.

“On my way to the end zone, I thought about how he jumped on my head and tackled me when I had mine,” Watt said, “and I was considering doing the same thing, but I know the new celebration rules, you’re not allowed to the ground. So I was trying to not get us a penalty, but I really wanted to jump on his head.”

Cushing’s interception tied the game 28-28 and the Texans won the game 31-28 after trailing by 21 points in the third quarter. For Cushing, it was a nice way to return to NFL action. See, he tore his ACL in Week 5 last year against the Jets and wasn’t cleared to return to action until mid-July.

While some might have been surprised to see Cushing have such a positive impact in his first game back, Cushing and head coach Gary Kubiak weren’t surprised. Kubiak cited the hard work at practice and Cushing said he expects that kind of play out of himself.

“Oh yeah, it was exciting,” Cushing said. “To be able to go out there and do that my first game back was obviously a relief, but it just made everything worth it.”

Where does that play rank in Cushing’s career?

“It’s up there,” he said. “It’s up there because it was a huge part of the game and it was a play I needed to make.”