Texans' D struggles with Cushing out

Texans' D struggles with Cushing out
September 29, 2013, 7:45 pm
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Russell Wilson runs in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

(USA Today Images)

The Seahawks drove 98 yards in 7:28 seconds to pull within seven points of the Texans on Sunday afternoon.

That was the only offensive touchdown the Seahawks (4-0) scored against the Texans (2-2) in a 23-20 Texans’ loss on Sunday.

And they did it with Brian Cushing in the locker room. During that drive, Cushing was being evaluated for a concussion. He was unable to return because of that concussion.

“I’d say so,” said Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus when asked if the defense was different without Cushing. “He is one of our great playmakers on defense. Having him not out there kinda sucks, but we know we have to suck it up and play ball.”

The Seahawks gained 270 yards of offense in the game and 98 of them came on that drive. The Texans have had problems with long drives this season.

Without Cushing on that drive, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson had runs of 25 and 13 yards and Marshawn Lynch had a run of 27 yards. The Seahawks pulled within seven on that drive and then tied the game with an interception return for a touchdown that forced overtime.  

The Texans’ defense was noticeably not the same last season when the team lost Cushing for the season in early October. With Cushing on the field in 2012, the Texans won their first five games in 2012, giving up 14.6 points and 275.6 yards per game. In the 13 remaining games (including playoffs) without Cushing, they went 8-5, giving up 24 points and 342.2 yards per game.

“Obviously, he’s a playmaker in the middle,” defensive end J.J. Watt said after Sunday’s loss. “But all I can do is play the game. I haven’t seen the film yet. I will find out later.”

Did the absence of Cushing lead to that 98-yard scoring drive?

“Football is not just a one-man game,” Watt said. “It is a team game. We can’t put anything on one man. We have to stop them.”