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10 Observations from 49ers Practice against Texans: Aug. 16

HOUSTON -- The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their second joint practice against the Houston Texans on Thursday. It was a stronger day overall for the 49ers that featured several notable highlights and performances throughout the practice. Let's dive into all of the happenings from the Houston Methodist Training Center.

1. Dante Pettis had another strong day. The rookie seemed to be open the entire practice. Pettis dominated 1-on-1s and had a long catch down the left sideline from Jimmy Garoppolo during team drills. He also beat the Texans secondary deep down the middle of the field but was underthrown by C.J. Beathard.

In a cool moment after practice, DeAndre Hopkins approached Pettis and gave him some love as they shook hands.

"I like your game, man. I like your game," Hopkins said.

Pettis was understandably pumped, given that the two hadn't chatted up till that point and they spent practice on separate fields.

2. Ahkello Witherspoon stood out during the Texans two-minute drill to end practice. Deshaun Watson targeted Hopkins on three consecutive plays with Witherspoon in coverage. On the first play, Hopkins beat Witherspoon down the left sideline for a 20-yard gain. Hopkins was called for offensive pass interference on the second play. On the third, Witherspoon nearly intercepted a sideline pass but settled for a pass breakup. The entire Texans sideline was chirping at the corner throughout the sequence, which made it even more impressive from a 49ers standpoint. He very easily could have folded or played it safe. Instead, Witherspoon went toe-to-toe with one of the best receivers in the NFL. Houston's drive ended in a missed field goal.

3. Marquise Goodwin, Richie James, Trent Taylor and Pierre Garçon were the other offensive standouts during 1-on-1s. Garoppolo hit Garçon on a deep ball down the left sideline.

4. Speaking of long completions, Garoppolo also connected with Raheem Mostert down the right sideline during the opening team drill.

5. Greg Mabin provided the defensive highlight of the day with an interception against Brandon Weeden during the two-minute drill. Weeden was looking for his receiver deep down the right sideline. Mabin turned his head in time and made a leaping catch to secure the takeaway. He's been coming on strong of late.

6. Garoppolo threw three touchdowns during a red-zone 7-on-7 period, two to Goodwin and the other to Garçon. Beathard found Kendrick Bourne in the middle of the end zone for another touchdown.

7. The two-minute drill didn't go well for the first-team offense. Kareem Jackson intercepted Garoppolo on the first play of the drive. The starters got one more crack at Houston's first-team defense but went four-and-out.

8. San Francisco's second-team offense didn't fare much better, but Beathard did have two consecutive completions to James. The drive ended in Robbie Gould drilling a 60-yard field goal with plenty of leg to spare. So if you were curious, you can rest assured that Gould is in midseason form.

9. Joshua Garnett received some snaps with the first-team offense. Jeremy McNichols continued to see an increased workload with the starters as well. Kyle Shanahan told reporters after practice that it's important to get every running back some quality reps against an opponent's first-team defense.

10. While I kept most of my attention on the offense, our social dynamos Meg Ryan and Johnny Volk were kind enough to keep an eye out for some defensive highlights as well. Big-time thanks to them.

  • Fred Warner and Jeremiah Attaochu had would-be sacks.
  • D.J. Reed and Adrian Colbert combined for a pass breakup on a 50-yard pass down the middle of the field.
  • DeForest Buckner, Chanceller James and D.J. Jones had tackles for loss against the run.
  • Antone Exum had a solid practice. He grabbed an interception during 7-on-7s and nearly had another during the two-minute drill. Exum also had a big hit that drew oohs and aahs from the fans in attendance.

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