The San Francisco 49ers face the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football this week, marking the third time these two teams have faced off. The 49ers claimed a 20-17 overtime victory in their first meeting, at Candlestick Park, on January 1, 2006. The Texans claimed a 24-21 victory in their second meeting, at Reliant Stadium, on October 25, 2009.
Although the teams have a very limited history, both games had some interesting circumstances surrounding them. They were not necessarily "franchise-altering", but they were both notable games.
The 49ers January 2006 victory was highlighted by Frank Gore rushing for 108 yards. This is notable because it was the first time Gore rushed for over 100 yards. Additionally, this game saw Alex Smith throw the first touchdown pass of his NFL career.
The 2006 victory was also interesting in terms of draft implications. The 49ers went into the game with a a 3-12 record, while the Texans were 2-13. Had the 49ers lost, they would have finished the season 3-13, and had one of the top three picks in the draft. They would have been tied with the Texans and Saints, and I'm not quite sure how the tiebreakers would have played out.
The 49ers finished with the sixth pick, which they used on tight end Vernon Davis. With a top three pick, maybe they take offensive tackle D'Brickshaw Ferguson, or linebacker A.J. Hawk. The Davis picks has worked out well, but it's always interesting considering alternate history.
The 2009 game saw the 49ers fall behind 21-0. Shaun Hill started the game, but Alex Smith took over to begin the second half. The 49ers ran off a pair of touchdowns, eventually cutting the lead to 24-20. The 49ers got the ball back on their own 6-yard line with 1:38 to go in the fourth quarter, and actually got a couple big passes together. Unfortunately, Smith threw an interception on 4th and 10 and that was the game. You can read my recap from way back when.
While the game itself was entertaining, the more important thing to take from it was the debut of wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The 49ers receiver had held out into his 2009 rookie season, eventually agreeing to a contract on October 7. It was too close to the 49ers-Falcons game, so he sat that out, practiced through the bye, and then made his debut against the Texans. He finished the game with five catches for 56 yards.