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Texans Beat 49ers 30-7

Posted Aug 27, 2011

After a hot start Saturday night, the 49ers cooled down considerably just as Candlestick Park’s signature fog began to hover over the playing field.

Ahmad Brooks’ 13-yard pick-six on the game’s first play from scrimmage heated things up for the 49ers, but everything else seemed to simmer from that point on. Like the cold front, the visiting Houston Texans covered the 49ers for much of the preseason matchup on their way to a 30-7 victory.

“It’s a bitter pill to swallow, when you’re beaten that thoroughly in pretty much all phases,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said.

The Texans forged ahead of the 49ers throughout Saturday’s preseason matchup, picking up 22 more first downs than the 49ers, as well as outgaining their opponents 417-105 in net yards. To put the one-sided game into proper perspective: Houston ran 78 plays from scrimmage, while the 49ers ran just 41.

“The thorough nature of it was something we’ll have to address and we would have any way,” Harbaugh added. “We’re not going to have any loser talk or hang our heads. If you’re waiting for that, you’re not going to get it. We’re going to keep our heads up.”

The players, too, won’t let the outcome change their outlook on the season ahead.

“We’re not going to hang our heads over it and have a long face,” said linebacker Patrick Willis, who recorded four tackles. “We know we still have work to do.”

The 49ers offense, led by quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick, also knows there’s more intense preparation headed its way. Both quarterbacks were under constant pressure from the Texans’ new-look 3-4 scheme and could not put together sustained scoring drives like they did last week against the Oakland Raiders.

“We put ourselves in third downs and couldn’t convert,” said Smith on a night where he took several big hits and was under constant pressure.

On the night, Smith completed 2-of-6 passes for 17 yards and one interception; Kaepernick completed 6-of-16 pass attempts for 52 yards and one interception.

“It’s hard for me to say at this point what happened,” said Smith, who was sacked twice and hit as he threw an interception to Troy Nolan, who also returned Kaepernick’s interception 73 yards for a touchdown. “I don’t want to rush into conclusions or judgments. Obviously there’s room for improvement from all of us. We’ll see what the film says.”

The first-half film will not be enjoyed by the 49ers offense, which totaled three first downs and 50 net yards in the opening 30 minutes of play. Houston, meanwhile, picked up 18 first downs and 260 yards in the first half by comparison.

“It’s just another one you put in the books,” tight end Delanie Walker said on a night where eight 49ers different targets tied for the team lead with one reception apiece. “We’re not consistent yet, that’s one thing we have to work on.”

Houston showed consistent play of its own, responding right away to the opening interception by Brooks, the 49ers outside linebacker.

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub led his offense on two long scoring drives – the first set up a 27-yard field goal from kicker Neil Rackers – the second saw the 49ers first-team defense give up its first touchdown of the preseason when running back Derrick Ward plunged into the end zone from 1-yard out.

“It’s a really good offensive football team,” said safety Donte Whitner, “and we feel like we did pretty good early in the first quarter. But we have to get better. We have to get on the field, hold teams to a field goal or stop them in the red zone.”

The 49ers defense gave up a second red zone touchdown in the first half when Schaub completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Owen Daniels to make it a 17-7 score midway through the second quarter. For the night, Schaub looked sharp, completing 16-of-24 passes for 180 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“I think this game was a good game for us as a first unit,” Willis said. “Being out there and just knowing you still have that you still have to work, you still have to prepare every day and every day you have to come with it. That’s what I’m going to take away from it.”

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