Brian Cushing: A
Ever wonder just how important Brian Cushing is to the Texans defense?
Well, if you truly must know, just observe the difference between how well the defense played before and after Cushing left the game with a concussion.
It was like night and day. With Cushing on the field, Russell Wilson was terribly ineffective, unable to escape from the pocket and hardly able to get off a pass. As soon as Cushing suffered his injury, Wilson ran rampant, scrambling for one big run after another and willing the Seahawks back into the game.
Cushing was dominant when he was in the game, wrecking havoc on one of most efficient offenses in the NFL. The Texans desperately need a healthy Cushing for the San Francisco 49ers game next week.
Their defense is just so good with him in the game and such a shell of itself when he's out.
Whitney Mercilus: A
Many Texans fans picked Mercilus to be the team's defensive breakout player for this season. After the first three games, that prediction seemed misguided; Mercilus failed to make much of an obvious impact.
Against the Seahawks, though, Mercilus showed just why the Texans thought he was worthy of their first-round pick in 2012. He finished with 2.5 sacks, and he was all over Wilson for the majority of the game.
If Mercilus can continue to play like this, the Texans could end up possessing one of the best front sevens in the entire league.
Brooks Reed: A-
Despite not playing as well as Mercilus, Reed still had a very effective game. He tallied his first sack of the year, and he was very good against the run.
Joe Mays/Darryl Sharpton: B+
The two inside linebackers who split time next to Brian Cushing continued their above-average start to the season, which is certainly surprising. The two linebackers were considered to be liabilities at the start of the year, but they have yet to cause any problems.
They were both decent in this one; they played well against the run and didn't make any obvious mistakes in coverage.