49ers look lost in 30-7 loss to Texans

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49ers look lost in 30-7 loss to Texans

Aug. 27, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- One early mistake did nothing to rattle Matt Schaub.Schaub stepped back to pass on the first play of the game and threw right to 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks a few yards away. After that rare blunder, Houston's reliable quarterback was spot-on.Schaub recovered after the early interception, leading the Texans on scoring drives in each of their next three series in a 30-7 exhibition rout of the rebuilding San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night.
MAIOCCO: Blog -- 49ers vs. Texans In-Game notes
"We had a lot of early mistakes and turnovers but guys bounced back and made plays," Schaub said. "I think that shows the maturity of our team that those mistakes aren't going to linger."Troy Nolan made two interceptions for new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, returning the first pick 73 yards for a touchdown to give the Texans 24 straight first-half points after they fell behind 7-0.Schaub enhanced an already impressive preseason, going 16 for 24 for 180 yards and a touchdown for the unbeaten Texans (3-0). So far, Houston looks very much like an AFC contender, although the Texans had to remove 2010 NFL rushing leader Arian Foster when his troublesome hamstring began bothering him again late in the first quarter.Coach Gary Kubiak is optimistic Foster will be ready for the opener Sept. 11 against the defending AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts."We don't think it's anything worse than what we were dealing with before," Kubiak said of Foster, who sat out the first preseason game.San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith wound up 2 for 6 for 17 yards, just 4 more yards in the air than he lost in two sacks.There weren't very many people to boo him this time.
RELATED: Few bright spots in 49ers' loss to Texans
The Candlestick Park stands were about one-third full a week after things turned violent and two men were shot in a parking lot after the 49ers beat the Bay Area rival Oakland Raiders 17-3.NFL security chief Jeff Miller attended Saturday's game and said he's optimistic Candlestick's beefed up security and increased police presence can help prevent further incidents of violence this season."We all recognize what happened last week was very unsettling and something we want to change," Miller said. "Tonight what I saw in the parking areas was that the police were extremely engaged. They did a fantastic job working with the fans, trash removal, little things like that."The 49ers got more highlights from their first-team defense than from Smith and Co."Obviously we took our lumps tonight," Smith said. "It was rough for all of us. We have to find a way to get something going and get right."Brooks intercepted that first pass by Schaub and returned it 13 yards for San Francisco's lone points - and this was hardly the kind of performance new coach Jim Harbaugh hoped to see at this stage.Houston had run 32 offensive plays to San Francisco's eight midway through the second quarter and the Texans managed 15 first downs to the 49ers' one. The overall first downs: Texans 28, 49ers 6. Total yards: Houston 417, San Francisco 105."To me, they're one of the best offenses in the NFL, so it was a good test for today going against a fast offense like that," 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said.Backup QB Colin Kaepernick got his shot for San Francisco. He didn't look much better than Smith.Kaepernick, the team's second-round draft pick out of Nevada, threw the interception to Nolan on his fifth play from scrimmage and third pass attempt after two previous incompletions.Smith returned for a three-and-out and then another series in which he threw an interception in the closing seconds of the first half.Running back Frank Gore, hoping for a new contract before the Sept. 11 opener with defending division champion Seattle, didn't play.Smith was sacked by Connor Barwin on third down on San Francisco's first drive for a 6-yard loss. Barwin ran over left tackle Joe Staley.Antonio Smith sacked Smith on the next Niners drive. So Phillips has to be pleased with how his unit looked Saturday night - and in the preseason as a whole. Houston's passing defense ranked last in the NFL in 2010."Confidence wise, it's certainly important for us to be where we are," Phillips said.The Texans have 13 sacks from nine players and have forced seven turnovers in the first three exhibition games.Donte Whitner's pass-interference penalty late in the first quarter helped set up Derrick Ward's 1-yard TD run that put Houston ahead 10-7. The points were the first given up by San Francisco's No. 1 defense in three preseason games.Neil Rackers kicked field goals of 27 and 47 yards for Houston. Foster had 38 yards on eight rushes."It's a bitter pill to swallow when you're beaten that thoroughly in pretty much all phases," Harbaugh said. "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."

Lynch: TE McDonald to return to 49ers after being on trade block

Lynch: TE McDonald to return to 49ers after being on trade block

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers explored trade options for veteran tight end Vance McDonald during the three-day draft, but he is scheduled be back with the team when the club reports Monday for the fourth week of the offseason program.

“I think that’s the reality of new regimes coming, new schemes,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Saturday at the conclusion the seven-round draft. “That’s not to say that he can’t fit into our scheme. Frankly, we received some interest from some other people, then we did explore some options throughout the league with Vance. Nothing ended up happening, so Vance will come back and have an opportunity to compete.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he called McDonald on Friday night to keep him updated on the team’s though process in pursuing trade options. McDonald was at his brother’s wedding, Shanahan said, so he left him a long voice message. McDonald responded Saturday morning with a text. Shanahan said the two men will speak on Monday in Santa Clara.

“We did take over a 2-14 team,” Shanahan said. “We don’t feel all the answers are here right now. We have a lot of work to do. We need to improve in any way possible. And we’re going to do that. We’re going to do that from an organizational standpoint. How can we improve the building? How can we improve the coaching staff? How can we improve the personnel department? How can we improve the players?

“Just from Vance’s text back, I think people understand that. I think it does make sense. I don’t think that’s something personal.”

Former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke signed off on a five-year contract extension for McDonald in December that consisted of a $7 million signing bonus. McDonald appeared in 11 games last season, catching 24 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns. The 49ers acquired McDonald as a second-round draft pick 2013. In 48 career games, McDonald has 64 receptions for 866 yards and seven touchdowns.

The 49ers signed veteran tight end Logan Paulsen in the offseason. On Saturday, the 49ers selected Iowa tight end George Kittle in the fifth round of the draft. Kittle joins fellow tight ends McDonald, Garrett Celek, Paulsen, Blake Bell and Je’Ron Hamm on the 49ers’ 90-man roster.

 

 

Lynch: 49ers expected to pick up Ward's fifth-year option

Lynch: 49ers expected to pick up Ward's fifth-year option

The 49ers plan to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive back Jimmie Ward for the 2018 season, general manager John Lynch said Saturday.

The league-wide deadline for picking up the option is Wednesday. After the 49ers did not draft a free safety within the first two days of the draft, it became apparent Ward fits into the team’s plan for at least the next two seasons. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he was excited after watching Ward during the team's minicamp this week.

The fifth-year option, a product of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, enables teams to control the rights of first-round draft picks for one season beyond the mandatory four-year contract. The salary for safeties drafted outside the top 10 is $5.957 million.

The salary is guaranteed for injury only. The team can void the deal until the first day of the 2018 league year.

Ward, whom the 49ers selected with the 30th overall pick of the 2014 draft, was the team’s top nickel back in his first two seasons, appearing in 24 games. Last year, Ward moved to cornerback, where he started 11 games before landing on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

With the 49ers’ conversion to a defense based on the Seattle Seahawks’ scheme, Ward is being moved to free safety. He is expected to fill a role based on what Earl Thomas plays with the Seahawks.

Here are the 49ers’ decisions since the inception of the fifth-year option rule:

--The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option on Aldon Smith before restructuring the contract. The 49ers eventually released Smith before the start of his fifth season due to multiple off-field incidents.

--Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs before his second NFL season.

--The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option on safety Eric Reid for this season. He is scheduled to earn $5.676 this season.