49ers vs. Texans: Good, bad & ugly from preseason Week 3

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images /
2 of 4
San Francisco 49ers Houston Texans Week 2 Preseason recap highlights analysis
HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 18: Trent Taylor #81 of the San Francisco 49ers catches a pass for a touchdown as slips past Aaron Colvin #22 of the Houston Texans in the first quarter during a preseason game at NRG Stadium on August 18, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Good

Scoring on the Niners’ opening offensive possession is a major positive, and this unit did so while converting three third-down attempts.

A lot of it has to do with head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. And while he won’t reveal too much of the team’s game plan, one could clearly see how many of San Francisco’s receiving targets were able to get open with regularity.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

At one point, the 49ers were 5-of-6 on third downs before this stat petered out into the second half. But seeing this mark from San Francisco’s starters is a good sign for the regular season. And despite the Niners giving up an answering touchdown to Houston’s starters, there were a number of solid defensive standouts too.

Let’s start there.

Nose Tackle D.J. Jones

He might be pegged behind the veteran, Earl Mitchell, this season. But second-year nose tackle D.J. Jones is going to wind up being a starter at some point soon. Perhaps as early as this year.

Jones had three tackles on the night. But his biggest play came against a run where, despite being locked up in a block, managed to punch the ball out from Texans running back Levon Coleman and San Francisco recovered.

49ers Run Defense

True, the first stringers did give up an initial Texans touchdown. But that was primarily due to Houston’s passing offense. The Niners’ run defense, however, looked sharp early on. And that continued throughout the game.

In total, San Francisco allowed just 73 yards on 24 carries — an average of 3.0 per attempt.

Jones was a major force against the run, as was rookie linebacker Fred Warner, who saw his first NFL action after missing last week’s game with a chest injury.

Offensive Guard Joshua Garnett

Saturday’s game marked the first action third-year guard Joshua Garnett saw this season after being sidelined for most of training camp with a knee injury.

Garnett didn’t start. But he came in for the start of the Niners’ second offensive drive and remained in place all the way into the late third quarter. He held his own too, displaying both movement skills and physicality he’ll need to lock down that starting right guard spot.

We’ll see if Garnett continues this when the 49ers hold their third preseason game in a week’s time — the contest most closely resembling a regular-season contest.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

Well, Jimmy Garoppolo never loses, so he has to be on the good side, right?

Garoppolo’s night wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty solid. He went 10-of-12 for 136 yards and one touchdown against an interception for a net passer rating of 107.0. It’s a much better result than the lowly 3-of-6 mark he had against Dallas a week ago.


His interception aimed towards rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis was overthrown, and Garoppolo did have two picks in joint practices with Houston during the week. Still, he looked far more like the Jimmy G that closed out the 49ers’ five-game win streak to end 2017.