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Texans LB Zach Cunningham hits end zone in a hurry

Houston Chronicle logo Houston Chronicle 12/2/2018 Aaron Wilson
a group of baseball players playing a football game: Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) runs past Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Chris Hubbard (74) for a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) runs past Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Chris Hubbard (74) for a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

Known for his speed and range in pass coverage, Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham reinforced that reputation Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

a group of baseball players playing a football game: Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson warms up before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson warms up before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

Cunningham dropped back into coverage and jumped a Baker Mayfield pass, returning it 38 yards for a touchdown during a 29-13 win. This marked the first interception and touchdown of his NFL career.

Deshaun Watson standing in front of a crowd: Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) greets fans on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) greets fans on the sidelines before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

"It just feels good," Cunningham said. "It was more of an instinctive play."

Houston Texans free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans free safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) breaks up a pass intended for Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

It was ruled a touchdown following an instant-replay review.

a group of football players on a field: Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) runs past Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Chris Hubbard (74) for a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) runs past Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Chris Hubbard (74) for a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

"I definitely felt like I made the play and got in there," Cunningham said. "I celebrated a little bit in the end zone with the guys."

a football player with a football ball on a field: Houston Texans tight end Ryan Griffin (84) is tripped up by Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) as he makes a first down reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans tight end Ryan Griffin (84) is tripped up by Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) as he makes a first down reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

Cunningham returned Monday night from a sprained medial collateral ligament that sidelined him for two games and made a key tackle on fourth down in a win over the Tennessee Titans.

a football player holding a football ball: Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws a pass over Cleveland Browns cornerback Derrick Kindred (26) during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws a pass over Cleveland Browns cornerback Derrick Kindred (26) during the second quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

Now, Cunningham made another big play in the Texans' ninth consecutive win.

a crowd of people watching a football game: Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas (83) beats Cleveland Browns free safety Jabrill Peppers (22) for an 11-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas (83) beats Cleveland Browns free safety Jabrill Peppers (22) for an 11-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

"I thought he showed a ton of athleticism," Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "Obviously, he has a lot of potential and he's been playing really well, especially coming off of that injury. He's been helping us out big-time. He had a great game."

a man standing in front of a crowd: Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas (83) celebrates his 11-yard touchdown reception against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston. © Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas (83) celebrates his 11-yard touchdown reception against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

GAME RECAP: Texans trounce Browns for 9th consecutive victory

a group of baseball players playing a football game: Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas (83) beats Cleveland Browns free safety Jabrill Peppers (22) for an 11-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas (83) beats Cleveland Browns free safety Jabrill Peppers (22) for an 11-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of an NFL football game at NRG Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Houston.
© Brett Coomer/Staff Photographer
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