Miscues on offense, holes on defense, and a couple of serious injuries narrowly avoided. That seemed to be the theme of the 49ers night in Houston.
The 49ers looked to lack on defense and had some confusion on offense during a 20-9 loss to the Houston Texans. While Matt Schaub looked to be in regular season form throwing for 128 yards and a TD while Alex Smith, the 49ers QB, looked dazed and confused… possibly from the hits doled out by the Texans on the first drive. The 49ers still managed a game tying FG on that drive
Neither of Smith’s two drives on the field were very impressive and one of which almost led to an INT. He seemed uncomfortable with the pass rush that the Texans were providing and just seemed jittery. He was sacked twice in the game and both on that first drive. He finished the night 5/9 with 49 passing yards.
While the 49ers offense were settling for FG’s, the Texans wanted Touchdowns. Matt Schaub managed to lead his team down field for a 9 yard TD pass to Lestar Jean leaving just 54 seconds in the first half. Later in the 4th after another field goal by each team, the Texans cemented their victory with a 87 yard punt return for a Touchdown by Trindon Holliday. There was still 10:51 left in the 4th but the way the 49ers back ups on offense were going, it might as well have been over.
Despite the miscues with the offense, things could’ve gone worse as the backfield had two injury scares. Brandon Jacobs was injured late in the 1st quarter after being hit in the left knee by Houston Texans’ cornerback, Kareem Jackson. According to the Associated Press, Harbaugh says the Veteran will “miss a little time.” The injury doesn’t seem to be serious according to ESPN.com News Services with X-rays negative and an MRI coming tomorrow.
The other injury scare is LaMichael James, the rookie running back out of Oregon University, who had to leave the game in 4th quarter when he got injured while making a block during a passing play. He seemed to favor his left foot. According to the AP, however, Harbaugh has said he is fine and expected to practice on Monday.
It wasn’t all bad news on the offensive front. Randy Moss made his first grabs as a 49er. He made three receptions during the game and had 24 receiving yards. He should’ve had 4 receptions but he dropped a pass only he could make near the sideline from Colin Kaepernick in the 2nd quarter.
The other receivers didn’t seem to grab much attention with the exception being A.J. Jenkins getting one catch for 32 yards thanks to a beautiful throw from Josh Johnson. If timed a bit better, he could’ve had a TD or two along with that sole catch. He sure seemed to beat the defenders on on the other two balls thrown his way but he just couldn’t quite make it to the ball in time. A bit more time practicing those routes could make him a legitimate deep threat.
As for defense, enough wasn’t shown for an opinion to be made. While Schaub did manage to pick us apart a bit, it came later in the 2nd quarter when back ups on both squads started to come into the game. And though Houston outran the 49ers by one measly yard with 119 rushing yards, a lot of hat came after the first quarter. Doubt could still be attached to the pass defense of the 49ers but not to the run defense.
While the 49ers night wasn’t that good, it could’ve been much worse. The squads do need more work together and Jacobs and James will have time to heal if they need it. If you want to see the so called “Dress Rehearsal” game of the preseason, it’s next Sunday vs. the Broncos at Mile High. Though Peyton Manning threw a couple of interceptions in his most recent preseason game, he was getting better as the game went on. Watch out, Niners.
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Written by Daniel Trucios