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Cushing wins AFC Defensive Player of the Week


Rookie linebacker Brian Cushing leads the Texans in tackles.

Rookie Brian Cushing was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 6 on Wednesday, becoming the first rookie to earn the award this season. Cushing is the first Texans defender to win the award since defensive end Mario Williams took the honor in Week 1 of the 2007 season.

Cushing is the fourth Texans rookie to win the award, his predecessors were Jerome Mathis (special teams, 2005), DeMeco Ryans (defensive, 2006) and Steve Slaton (offensive, 2008).

Cushing is the third Texan to win the award this season, joining wide receiver Jacoby Jones (Week 4, Special Teams) and quarterback Matt Schaub (Week 2, Offensive). A Texan has won an AFC honor every win the team has posted this season.

Cushing (6-3, 265), who also was nominated for Pepsi Rookie of the Week, finished the game at Cincinnati with nine tackles, six solos, two forced fumbles, an interception and two passes defensed. His forced fumble in the third quarter was the first of his career and his second forced fumble came in the fourth quarter.

Led by Cushing, the Texans' run defense limited the NFL's leading rusher, Cedric Benson, to a season-low 44 yards on 16 carries. Benson entered the game averaging 97.4 yards per game.

{QUOTE}As the Bengals were driving with less than two minutes to go in the game, Cushing made his first career interception when he picked off Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer on the Texans' 11-yard line to seal Houston's 28-17 win.

The USC product was a part of the Texans' defense that forced Cincinnati to go three-and-out on five of its 13 drives, or 38.5 percent of the time. Houston has forced three-and-outs on 27-of-75 drives this season (36 percent). Houston's defense held Cincinnati to a mere 78 yards in the second half. Cincinnati gained six total yards in the third quarter, which is the lowest opponent yardage total the Texans surrendered in a third quarter in franchise history.

The intensity that Cushing has brought to the Texans' defense is difficult to ignore. After being selected with the No. 15 overall pick in April, Cushing described his style of play. So far, he's been spot on with his assessment.

"I'm going to be a player that brings a lot of excitement, intensity and anything that helps the team win as best as possible," he said to the media April 26. "I know as the 15th pick of the draft, you guys are expecting a lot out of me. I'm here to bring that, whether it be practice every single day or every single game.

"I remember, ever since playing football in the third grade, I've been a leader of my football team. I've never wanted to lose. I've always wanted to be that guy to drive everyone in the locker room. No matter where I was, I've just wanted to have that winning attitude and lead by example."

Texans AFC Player of the Week Award Winners
Player Award Week Year
Brian Cushing Defense 6 2009
Jacoby Jones Special Teams 4 2009
Matt Schaub Offensive 2 2009
Matt Schaub Offensive 14 2008
Steve Slaton Offensive 13 2008
Jacoby Jones Special Teams 8 2008
Jacoby Jones Special Teams 6 2008
André Davis Special Teams 14 2007
Kris Brown Special Teams 5 2007
Mario Williams Defensive 1 2007
Kris Brown Special Teams 16 2006
DeMeco Ryans Defensive 13 2006
Andre Johnson Offensive 4 2006
Jerome Mathis Special Teams 8 2005
Kris Brown Special Teams 3 2004
Chad Stanley Special Teams 9 2003
Avion Black Special Teams 15 2002
Aaron Glenn Defensive 14 2002

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