HOUSTON -- Those looking for a hot start out of Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. got their wish Saturday night. Garoppolo engineered a 78-yard touchdown drive to open the game against the Houston Texans.
A 40-yard bomb down the left sideline from Garoppolo to Marquise Goodwin highlighted the drive. Three plays later, the 49ers faced 4th-and-1, and Kyle Shanahan opted to go for it. Garoppolo found a wide open Kyle Juszczyk near the right sideline to convert. Juszczyk caught the short pass and ran it all the way to the Texans 2-yard line for a 24-yard gain. Garoppolo was late to see his fullback, but protection held up and allowed the quarterback to work his eyes back to the right sideline. That was a good sign for the offensive line.
Three plays later, on 3rd-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Garoppolo fired a dart to the middle of the end zone to Trent Taylor for the score. The 10-play, 78-yard drive lasted 5:10.
Shanahan gave the starting offense a second drive that got off to a promising start as well. Garoppolo completed a pass to Pierre Garçon for 17 yards to open the series. It was the first ever connection between the two in a game. Garoppolo then converted three consecutive third downs. The first went to Goodwin, the second went to Taylor and the third went to Cole Hikutini.
The 49ers reached Houston's 12-yard line before things went south. Weston Richburg was called for holding and unsportsmanlike conduct on the same play costing the 49ers 25 yards. Garoppolo's very next pass bounced off of Dante Pettis' hands and was intercepted by Texans safety Johnson Bademosi. The ball sailed a bit on Garoppolo, but Pettis still could have come down with it.
Garoppolo finished 10-of-12 passing for 136 yards, one touchdown and one interception in two drives. He converted 5-of-6 third downs as well as his only fourth down attempt. It didn't end spectacularly, but Garoppolo and Co. still looked to be in regular season form. Goodwin finished with three catches for 61 yards.
As for the defense, San Francisco's starters allowed an opening drive touchdown for the second straight week. Deshaun Watson diced through the 49ers secondary on a series capped by a touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington. The 49ers starting defense played one additional series and got a stop against the Texans second-team offense.