The San Francisco 49ers have concluded their second preseason game against the Houston Texans. The most important takeaway is that the starters fared much, much better than they did a week ago, the offense specifically. Beyond that, it was a good game to evaluate some prospects, but didn’t get to the wild proportions last wee would get us to. While the 49ers took the lead late in the 4th quarter via a field goal, a Joe Webb touchdown pass to Vyncint Smith with 27 seconds remaining sealed the for a 16-13 loss.
It was, for lack of a better word, a preseason game. Well, except after the first two offensive series, which were awesome right up to Weston Richburg getting a holding penalty, then an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty right after and setting everyone up for 1st and 35. There’s a lot of things we can break down this week before the next game, but tonight let’s look at six things we learned.
The “Double G” connection is filthy
The 49ers starting offense found themselves in a few trouble spots on third down. No problem, just dial up Jimmy G to Marquise Goodwin. The first play was a 3rd and long that resulted in a nice dime for 40 yards. Garoppolo would hit Goodwin again on their second series together. Besides Goodwin, Garoppolo would find ‘ol faithful’ Trent Taylor on 3rd down and for the 49ers first touchdown tonight. If not for Weston Richburg’s knucklehead penalties, the 49ers would have scored on back-to-back drives. I have no problem believing this.
D.J. Jones may be another good John Lynch late-round draft pick
The nose tackle had one arm on a blocker and was still able to punch the ball out for a Fred Warner recovery. Jones managed to hold his own for most of the night getting into the backfield a few times. There was a nice play where he stuffed the run and threw the runner back past the line of scrimmage, the play was nullified by an offensive clipping penalty. Jones may be starting in 2019, or perhaps 2018 if he keeps his play up.
The 49ers guard competition is alive and well
Joshua Garnett suited up and played well after the second series. In fact, he looked a step above the other guards. The competition will continue into this week where we can see where everything stands, but for his first action in some time, Garnett didn’t look bad at all. He looked, well, good.
The 49ers run game is concerning
Yes, the team was missing Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida, but even last week, the 49ers were having defenders in the backfield waiting for the handoff and stuffing the run far earlier than they should. This week, Jeremy McNichols couldn’t get free on the first series. The second series was a bit better, but as the night went on, the running game was not very inspiring from any string of players. Joe Williams averaged around 2.25 YPC and also dropped a pass that led to a Nick Mullens interception. McNichols wasn’t much better averaging around 2.8 YPC.
Fred Warner had a good first game
The 49ers linebacker was all over the field making tackles, collecting fumbles and keeping things together. He almost had a pick to close out the first half but missed it. For his first game in the NFL, Warner was nothing short of impressive. With Malcolm Smith’s injury might we see Warner taking some starting snaps when the regular season begins? Speaking of the linebackers...
Reuben Foster is ready to go
The 49ers are going to definitely miss Foster when the regular season begins and Foster serves out his suspension. Once again, Foster made his presence known in coverage, run game, and just being an all out behemoth on the field. Waterboy he is. I’ll just leave this here.
The 49ers head to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to face the Colts. Week 3 shows a good look at the starters (roughly a half) so this will be a game to watch.