Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak informed media on Friday that linebacker Brian Cushing has cleared the NFL's concussion protocol and will play against the 49ers on Sunday (h/t Cam Inman). Cushing sat out Wednesday practice and was limited Thursday while he was working his way through the protocol. The concussion protocol requires a player be asymptomatic at rest and after exertion.
We all know Cushing is a solid linebacker, but given what we saw of the Texans collapse last week, this is pretty notable. The Seahawks came back for a variety of reasons, but they really got their offense going once Cushing came off the field. In his 2+ quarters of play, Cushing finished with nine tackles, one QB hurry and one forced fumble. He is all over the field, "sideline-to-sideline" as Greg Roman described him.
Most of us are looking for the 49ers to use their run game to slow down this Texans defense. Cushing was integral to containing the Seahawks ground game, and when he departed, apparently the Texans run defense went with him. I suspect Greg Roman and company have spent all sorts of time scouting Cushing and company. This could prove to be the most decisive aspect of this game.