Houston Texans: How Zach Cunningham turned in his best seasonal effort

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 25: Ben Roethlisberger
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 25: Ben Roethlisberger /

The Houston Texans, as expected, made a futile attempt to try to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers who ran way with this game with a final score of 34-6.  We’ve been absolutely decimated this year with injuries but the bright spot is watching our young guys develop.  Zach Cunningham is one of those guys and here’s why.

Houston Texans fans — yesterday’s game was a bloodbath to say the least.  If you had to turn the channel for whatever reason, I certainly will give you a mulligan on that.  Luckily, we just have one more game left as each game becomes tougher to watch as the Houston Texans have fell to a 4-11 record on the season.

It will go down as one of their worst but yet the most surprising because of all of the pieces we had hit injury reserve list hard.  We were supposed to be right in the thick of the competition but this season has already given us the notion of us fans being on the outside looking in.  At least there’s some solace that Dallas Cowboys fans are in the same boat so no Texas teams will be in the postseason.

That sucks for my trash talk but I’ll get over it.  But any way, the key motivator to have me watch these games as a Houston Texans’ fan is to watch the progression of these draft picks — either this year’s or previous — as they make their cases in regard to if the team needs to move forward with their services.  It certainly keeps me upbeat encapsulated in a season that’s mired in negativity.

Zach Cunningham was been mostly solid for this season with he turning in performances that are terrific from time to time.  Yesterday’s performance was representative of that, especially against Steelers’ offense that features a lot of weapons such as Le’Veon Bell, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant.  He was able to make his presence known against all and it certainly indicates his future is bright at the MIKE position.  The pass rush was far from what it should’ve been as a whole but he did bring some pressure on Ben Roethlisberger.

Although it’s arguable that this was the best performance of the season, Pro Football Focus affirms my notion of this week’s performance as he received a solid grade of an 83.4.  Here’s what else they had to say about him:

"“The Texans rookie linebacker was one of the few who flourished, making a bunch of key tackles. Cunnigham made seven tackes resulting in a defensive stop, and finished the day with the highest grade of any Texans defender in coverage.”"

From my eyes, he seemed to be part of just about every major defensive effort that the team had

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against the Steelers, although there weren’t that many that kept our opponent from elevating their lead above us.

Even though the Houston Texans gave up 34 points, you have take that at face value and just focus on the individual performances to which Cunningham certainly fit the bill.  When really starts to get it and bulk up a bit in the weight room, I think he’ll be as fierce as they come.  But until then, it’s just great to have our second-rounder have command from his spot on the defense.

Next: Jadeveon Clowney: From Bust to Superstar

Cunningham finished the day with 10 tackles — three assisted — through 55 snaps yesterday.  He also has amassed 44 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble through 14 games in 2017.

Go Texans.