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49ers Top Texans, 34-3, on Sunday Night Football

Posted Oct 6, 2013

Thanks mostly to its opportunistic defense creating four turnovers, San Francisco moved its record to 3-2 with a second straight victory.

With their full complement of offensive weapons in tow, the 49ers are well served to possess the football.

Not having it proved even more fruitful on Sunday night.

With its defense recording four turnovers – including two interceptions by nickel cornerback Tramaine Brock – that each resulted in points, San Francisco ousted the Houston Texans, 34-3, before a packed Candlestick Park and a nationally-televised audience.

With the teams’ first matchup since 2009, the 49ers (3-2) have now won two straight games, while the Texans (2-3) have dropped three straight games.

PHOTO GALLERY: 49ERS VS. TEXANS

Through three quarters, the 49ers were outgained by their guests in yards (255 to 169) and first downs (15 to 13) yet still were more than in control of the game.

Matt Schaub’s ineffectiveness under center was a significant reason why. The Texans quarterback, who was replaced by backup T.J. Yates, to start the fourth quarter, threw a pick-six for a fourth straight game. On the third play after kickoff, Brock returned the first of Shaub's three interceptions for an 18-yard touchdown.

Playing in place of injured veteran Nnamdi Asomugha for a second straight week, Brock was covering rookie wideout DeAndre Hopkins when he jumped in front of Schaub’s intended target, Andre Johnson.

The fourth-year pro, originally an undrafted free agent, had two interceptions in 2011 but did not record a single pick last season.

During the Texan’s fourth drive, Brock was matched up one-on-one with Johnson, whom 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio called the Texans first Hall of Fame player earlier in the week, when Brock knocked a Schaub pass a few feet into the air above him before snatching it. Brock returned his second pick 13 yards, to the Texans 32-yard line.

Four plays later, on just the third 49ers offensive possession of the game, reserve running back Anthony Dixon high-stepped left behind Boone for a two-yard touchdown and his team’s three-touchdown lead in the second quarter.

The defense nearly recorded its third turnover with almost four minutes remaining in the third quarter. Rookie safety Eric Reid jumped a Schaub toss meant for tight end Owen Daniels but mishandled it.

But the defense, which was playing without six-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Patrick Willis (groin), had other opportunities to come despite featuring backups at key spots.

The unit also lost defensive tackle Ray McDonald to a right bicep injury in the third quarter. McDonald was replaced by reserve Tony Jerod-Eddie, who promptly picked off Shaub on a 3rd-and-13 play with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter. Snaring his first interception in his fifth career game, the lineman dropped back into coverage, right in front of Shaub’s target, tight end Garrett Graham.

Randy Bullock ended the shutout bid with a 41-yard field goal midway through the third quarter. Phil Dawson, Bullock’s 49ers counterpart, answered with a 38-yard kick of his own that was set up by a 26-yard Frank Gore run.

The franchise’s all-time leading rusher finished the night with 81 yards on 17 carries and a one-yard touchdown that came on the team’s first possession, a 12-play, 65-yard journey that chewed up almost six minutes of game time.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, oddly silent much of the night, connected with tight end Vernon Davis on the second play of the fourth quarter for a 64-yard score. Kaepernick hadn’t completed a pass since that longish first quarter drive. He finished 6-of-15 for 113 yards passing.

Then, continuing the theme of the night, cornerback Tarell Brown recovered Texans running back Ben Tate’s fumble, setting up Dawson’s second successful field goal attempt – this time from 24 yards out with 10-plus minutes left on the clock and no doubt as to the victorious team.

All told, San Francisco scored 24 points off the four Houston turnovers.

The 49ers host a division rival, the Arizona Cardinals, in Week 6. With the Seattle Seahawks (4-1) losing in Indianapolis in Week 5, the 49ers are now one game back of first place in the NFC West.

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