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

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images /
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San Francisco 49ers Houston Texans Preseason Week 2 grades and analysis
HOUSTON, TX – DECEMBER 10: Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers looks at the scoreboard in the third quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Ugly

Well, on one hand, things didn’t get too ugly in the injury department Saturday night. Unlike the 49ers’ exhibition opener, when players were dropping on seemingly every drive, the Niners had just one notable injury in Houston — a leg injury to backup offensive lineman Erik Magnuson.

But while the 49ers were better off in this department, they were far worse in another.

Penalties were bad. Like, seriously bad. And so was some of the execution from a number of players.


This was a problem for San Francisco the same time last year. Saturday’s contest was more of the same, as the Niners were flagged 15 times for 140 yards during the game. Two of those calls went against center Weston Richburg, which likely caused the 49ers not to cash in on another first-unit touchdown in the first half.

“I thought we should have finished with two scores,” Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the game. “I thought we had a stupid penalty, a 25-yard penalty, because there were two of them. Just didn’t like the way it ended with our group.”

Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo recap Preseason Week 2 loss to Texans.

Posted by San Francisco 49ers on Saturday, August 18, 2018

Shanahan admitted pre-snap penalties bothered him the most. Meanwhile, the Niners also dealt with two of the questionable helmet/shoulder-leading calls during the game, which will be an issue for every team over the course of the season. Officials too.

Still, the number of penalties is something Shanahan and Co. will need to address. And soon.

Wide Receiver Victor Bolden

He’s already on the fringes of the 53-man roster this season, but second-year wideout Victor Bolden didn’t do himself any favors in earning consideration.

Late in the game, with the Niners trailing 16-13 and just 27 seconds remaining, Bolden inexplicably took a kickoff deep out of the end zone attempting what would have been a nearly impossible return. What he should have done is kneel, saving that precious time and getting a free 25 yards off the touchback.

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Shortly afterwards, on what ended up being the final play of the game, Bolden hauled in a 32-yard catch-and-run pass. Instead of going down and trying for one more play to win the game, Bolden tried to break free.

He was tackled, though, after time expired. So much for that, and so much for his roster chances.

Cornerback Jimmie Ward

With cornerback Richard Sherman (hamstring) out, depth cornerback Jimmie Ward got the start again outside. Fans will recall how Ward was burned by Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup on a 30-yard touchdown pass in Week 1 of the preseason.

And Ward’s efforts in Houston weren’t exactly much better.

During Houston’s opening offensive possession, Ward was beat badly by Texans wideout Bruce Ellington for a 37-yard gain.

Ward’s fifth-year option, north of $8 million, became fully guaranteed at the start of the new year. It’s not likely the 49ers would be able to trade Ward, especially with how bad he’s looked over two preseason games so far.

With cutting him not an option, financially, it’s likely San Francisco can’t wait until it can be rid of yet another one of former general manager Trent Baalke’s high draft picks.

Next. 3 realistic trades the 49ers could make before the regular season. dark

Meanwhile, the 49ers will get ready for their third preseason game of 2018 — Aug. 25 at 4:25 p.m. ET in Indianapolis against the Colts.