Few bright spots in 49ers' loss to Texans

Few bright spots in 49ers' loss to Texans
August 28, 2011, 4:42 am
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Aug. 27, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Coach Jim Harbaugh gave 49ers running back Frank Gore the night off.Just consider the rest of the 49ers' offense -- and a good portion of the team -- as an unexcused absence Saturday night at Candlestick Park."It's a bitter pill to swallow when you're beaten that thoroughly in pretty much all phases," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said after his team's 30-7 loss to the Houston Texans."I think the defense wasn't quite as bad as special teams, and special teams weren't quite as bad as the offense. Specifically with the offense, we didn't get any kind of rhythm going. It's on everybody involved with the offense: protection, route-running, decision-making -- all those things."RECAP: 49ers look lost in 30-7 loss to the Texans
The third exhibition game is generally seen as the closest thing to the regular season. Well, the 49ers demonstrated they have a lot of work to accomplish before they open at home against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 11.Harbaugh said he is confident the team will be ready for the regular season. But why?"Because we have to," Harbaugh said. "It's not an option not to."
Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks gave the 49ers a 7-0 lead just nine seconds into the game with a 13-yard interception return, as he stepped in front of an attempted Matt Schaub screen pass.From that point on, the Houston Texans thoroughly dominated the 49ers en route to 30 unanswered points before the smallest turnout to attend a 49ers home game in three decades. The announced crowd of 69,732 was for tickets sold, and does not reflect the abundance of no-shows.Do you want to know how bad it was?MAIOCCO: Blog -- 49ers vs. Texans In-game notes
--Rookie Colin Kaepernick completed 6 of 16 passes for 52 yards. He had an interception returned for a touchdown. His 20.8 passer rating far exceeded that of starter Alex Smith, who completed 2 of 6 attempts for 17 yards and an interception. Smith's rating was 2.8.
--Schaub completed 16 of 24 passes for 180 yards in his one half of work, as the Texans had four receivers with at least 35 yards receiving. The 49ers' leading receivers were Kyle Williams and Dominique Zeigler, who caught one pass apiece for 15 yards.--The 49ers managed six first downs, including just three through the air. The 49ers had the same number of first downs passing as sacks allowed, and there were also numerous quarterback pressures that resulted in incomplete passes, along with one of the interceptions. The Texans, meanwhile, rolled up 28 first downs.--Total yards: Texans 417, 49ers 105.There weren't very many bright spots, especially on offense, but rookie Kendall Hunter might have taken a large stride toward winning the job as Gore's primary backup.Gore suited up for the game and went through warmups, but he did not play as Harbaugh said he wanted to take an extended look at Hunter and Dixon against the Texans' starters.Both running backs got eight rushing attempts. Hunter gained 40 yards, while Dixon managed just 15.Afterward, Gore made it clear that the fact he is entering the final year of his contract is weighing heavily on his mind. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is scheduled to meet with 49ers' chief negotiator Paraag Marathe on Monday for the second time in three weeks to discuss an extension."I want something to get done before the season," Gore said. "Hopefully, something can get done here. If it doesn't happen, I still got to be here for my teammates and try to stick it out. . . . Hopefully, man, hopefully, hopefully, I hope it gets done. And I hope I can get something fair."Gore is unlikely to play in the exhibition finale Thursday night at San Diego, but he declared himself ready for real games to begin."I'm ready," Gore said. "I trained hard this offseason, and I practice hard every day. Once my number gets called, '21' is going to be ready. I hope everything gets done, so my mind is right and I can just play football."Is his mind right without the new contract?"I have my days, but once I touch the field, I don't think about it," Gore said. "I'm going to be here for my team and try to get some wins."There might be a lot weighing on the minds of those involved with the 49ers' offense as the third exhibition game. The same problems in pass protection that were obvious in the exhibition opener came back to haunt the 49ers."Obviously, there's room for improvement for all of us," Smith said.Left tackle Joe Staley was beaten for one sack. Left guard Mike Iupati had a breakdown that led to another. Center Jonathan Goodwin, who is competing with Adam Snyder for the starting job, had his problems, as well."It's not something I'm worried about, to be honest with you," Smith said. "We have a great group up front and they work as hard as anybody. They're talented. Protection doesn't always fall on them. It falls on everybody sometimes."Smith's one interception came as he fluttered a pass into the middle of the field while Texans defensive end Antonio Smith delivered a hard hit. Houston free safety Troy Nolan had both interceptions. Kaepernick's pick came when he tried to deliver a pass deep down the middle to Braylon Edwards. Nolan returned it 73 yards for a second-quarter touchdown."I saw the safety, but I thought Braylon would cross his face before he got there," Kaepernick said. "It was just a bad judgment on my part."One of the few bright spots was provided by fill-in punter Sam Paulescu, who was signed to take over for Andy Lee. Paulescu averaged 50 yards on eight punts. Lee is expected to return from a bruise right hip for the start of the regular season.Said Harbaugh, "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 and forge ahead."