Box Score:

26 – 16 Win

Offensive Report:

  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 20/33, 334 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • RB Carlos Hyde: 14 carries, 78 yards, 1 TD
  • WR Marquise Goodwin: 6 receptions, 106 yards
  • TE Garrett Celek: 2 receptions, 67 yards, 1 TD
  • FB Kyle Juszcyzk: 3 receptions, 64 yards
  • K Robbie Gould: 4/4 FGs (long of 52), 2/2 XPs, 14 total points

Defensive Report:

  • LB Reuben Foster: 7 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss
  • CB Dontae Johnson: 7 solo tackles
  • DL Aaron Lynch: 2 solo tackles, 2 assists
  • S Adrian Colbert: 3 solo tackles, 1 pass defended
  • DL DeForest Buckner: 1 solo tackle, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack
  • LB Eli Harold: 2 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack

 

Game Summary:

The 49ers returned to Houston for the first regular season game in eight years; the last time San Francisco played at NRG Stadium (then-Reliant Stadium), Shaun Hill started the game at quarterback, but was eventually pulled for Alex Smith. This time around, San Francisco certainly entered the game with no intention of a mid-game switch under center, as Jimmy Garoppolo has been electrifying to say the least. After the 49ers got their second win of the season in Chicago last week, all 49ers fans were beaming with excitement heading into this Sunday, eager to see what Jimmy The Gent could do.

The Texans came out on their opening drive and took it 7 plays for 30 yards (4:16 long) and topped it off with a 55-yard field goal by HOU K Ka’imi Fairbairn. Unfortunately, Garoppolo did not have the best start to the game Sunday, as he saw his passes constantly sail over receivers heads. This proved to be costly early on, as he threw an interception on the 49ers second possession on a pass intended for Trent Taylor that was too high. Perhaps the rookie wide receiver and quarterback were victims of miscommunication, either way the Texans now had the ball. A horse-collar tackle called on SF TE Garrett Celek tacked on 15 yards to the end of the interception. Luckily for the 49ers, Earl Mitchell suited up Sunday, because he could not wait to introduce himself to HOU RB Lamar Miller. Mitchell met Miller two yards behind the line of scrimmage on 4th & 1, forcing the Texans to turn the ball over on downs.

Garoppolo did his best to take advantage of the turnover, and more importantly not let the adversity phase him. Unfortunately, the 49ers spent another Sunday shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly with penalties. A holding call on SF C Daniel Kilgore backed the 49ers up 10 yards and ultimately stalled their drive, forcing the Niners to punt after a quick three-and-out. Both teams went three-and-out for a few more possessions to close out the first quarter.

In a frightening moment, fans were forced to witness the terrifying sight of HOU QB Tom Savage apparently suffering a concussion after hitting the back of his head against the turf while being tackled. Savage’s arms and fingers appeared to stiffen up and were shaking visibly. Somehow, Savage was able to return to the game for a few plays before the team doctors finally pulled him and placed him in concussion protocol. Savage was replaced by TJ Yates for the rest of the game.

With 9:05 left in the second quarter, Garoppolo lead the 49ers out on the field — starting at their own 35-yard line. The Niners drove 31 yards in 5 plays and tied the game up at 3-3 with a Robbie Gould 52-yard field goal. After a Texans three-and-out, the 49ers started their very next drive on their own 32-yard line. Garoppolo would go on to hit FB Kyle Juszcyzk twice on this drive for 60 yards. Juice made a phenomenal catch along the sideline! These large gains by Juice paired with a few short runs by RB Matt Breida set the 49ers up with 1st & goal at the Texans 4-yard line. Two plays later, RB Carlos Hyde was punching the ball into the end zone from two yards out. After Gould nailed the extra point, San Francisco took their first lead of the game, 10-3.

However, the Texans didn’t let the 49ers celebrate for too long, as they drove the ball 75 yards on 9 plays and topped it off with a touchdown on their very next drive. HOU QB TJ Yates came in and didn’t miss a beat — especially when targeting WR DeAndre Hopkins. Out of 6 pass attempts from the scoring drive, 4 were completed to Hopkins for 54 yards (including the 7-yard touchdown catch). However, Houston was unable to tie the game, as K Fairbairn missed the extra point, putting the score at 9-10 SF.

49ers WR Victor Bolden Jr carried the ensuing kickoff out to the SF 21-yard line, but he was injured on the return, and did not return to the game. San Francisco had :54 seconds left on the clock when they started their drive. Perhaps HC Kyle Shanahan was just planning on running the ball and killing the clock to go into halftime up one point. However, Carlos Hyde apparently had different plans, as he took the handoff on first down and carried it for 31 yards, up to the HOU 48-yard line. Garoppolo then hit WR Aldrick Robinson with back to back catches totaling 27 yards, setting up the Niners at the HOU 17-yard line with :02 seconds left in the first half. Sure enough, K Robbie Gould sent the ball straight through the uprights on a 35-yard field goal to send San Francisco into halftime up 13-9.

The Texans received the ball to start the second half, and they certainly knew what to do with it. Yates went at SF CB Dontae Johnson right away, and even though Hopkins caught the pass, Johnson was called with pass interference (which would be the first of many on the day). Five plays (and a second Johnson PI call) later, Yates was connecting with Hopkins in the back corner of the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown. Yates and the Texans were not even trying to hide the fact that they were targeting Johnson, but there was nothing the 49ers could do about it. The Texans retook the lead 13-16 with 12:11 left in the third quarter.

San Francisco answered with an 11 play, 68-yard drive that lasted 3:59 and ended with another Robbie Gould field goal. The game was once again tied up, 16-16. In response to TJ Yates and the Texans abusing CB Dontae Johnson, the 49ers benched Johnson in favor of newly-signed CB Greg Mabin. Also, they decided to bring S Adrian Colbert over from the top to help out Mabin when covering Hopkins. Well apparently that worked, because the Texans were unable to answer on their following drive, and they were forced to punt after the five-play drive stalled out. The 49ers received the ball at their own 15-yard line with 5:26 left in the third quarter. A few plays into the drive, Garoppolo hit Celek for a 61-yard catch and run! Celek took the ball all the way down to the HOU 20-yard line. The drive was almost derailed by another penalty called on their offensive line, Laken Tomlinson to be exact, the holding call backed the 49ers up 10 yards to the HOU 14-yard line. Luckily on 1st & 20, Garoppolo hit WR Kendrick Bourne for 18 yards, regaining the yards they just gave up. The next play, Garoppolo connected with Celek in the end zone for the 6-yard touchdown pass. San Francisco was now up 23-16 with 1:53 to go in the third quarter.

Both teams traded punts for the next four possessions, taking the clock all the way down to the six-minute mark. The Texans, down one touchdown, were looking to drive the ball down the field and tie the game up, However, fate had different plans. On the third play of their drive, Hopkins caught a pass and then was hit by S Adrian Colbert, which forced a fumble. 49ers DL Aaron Lynch was able to jump on the ball and give SF the ball back with an extremely short field.

The 49ers ensuing drive only went 9 yards, but they were able to not only take about two minutes off the clock, they were also able to extend their lead to two possessions with another Robbie Gould field goal. Gould kicked the 41-yard field goal straight through the uprights, giving the 49ers a 10-point lead with 3:50 left in the game. San Francisco was up 26-16 over the Texans, and finally had some breathing room now that they were up two scores. Houston was able to drive the ball 41 yards on 11 plays on their following possession, but they missed a 52-yard field goal attempt, giving the ball back to the 49ers.

With the Texans out of timeouts, Garoppolo was able to take a knee three straight times to run out the clock, winning the second straight game on the road for the 49ers and improving their record to 3-10 on the season.

Game Notes:

  • Garoppolo stood tall in the pocket, repeatedly looked dead in the eyes of HOU DL Jadeveon Clowney and let the ball rip .3 seconds before getting nailed.
  • Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin had another strong outing, finishing the game with 6 receptions for 106 yards.
  • Carlos Hyde completely dropped the ball (literally) after sneaking by Texans DBs, Garoppolo threw a perfect pass to Hyde. For whatever reason, Hyde felt he needed to slow down to adjust to the pass, and it ended up sailing just beyond his reach.
  • Reuben Foster went down once again with an injury, but he was joking with teammates shortly after on the sideline and returned to the game on the Niners next defensive possession. Foster later told reporters he just got the wind knocked out of him.
  • This was QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s first career game with 300+ yards passing.
  • Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins finished the game with 11 receptions on 16 targets for 149 yards and 2 TDs.
  • 49ers defense held the Texans to a total of 90 rushing yards.
  • The 49ers won back to back games on the road (@CHI, @HOU) for the first time since 2014.