Watson, Garoppolo sharp as Texans top 49ers 16-13
Watson used his one series to march the Texans down the field, going 5 of 8 for 73 yards, capped by a 1-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington in Houston’s 16-13 exhibition victory over the San Francisco 49ers,
“I guess he was 5 for 8, but I think he had three drops on the drive,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “I thought he did some nice things. We were able to play at a pretty good tempo and get in the end zone so that was good.”
It was a much lengthier outing than the preseason opener in Kansas City, when Watson attempted just one pass in his return to game action after missing the second half of his rookie season with a torn ACL.
“I felt good just to be in a game,” Watson said. “Try to get my feet wet. It was a good drive for us.”
Garoppolo’s night ended after his second drive when a deep pass to Dante Pettis bounced off Pettis’ hands and was intercepted by Johnson Bademosi. Garoppolo was 10 of 12 for 136 yards and said there were plenty of “simple mistakes” that the team can work on correcting before the regular season begins.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he was tempted to send his first-string offense out for a third series.
“I wanted them to get going more,” Shanahan said. “I didn’t think our execution was great in the first game. I didn’t think it was great in this game either, but I just wanted to give them more time to play.”
Backup quarterbacks Brandon Weeden for Houston and C.J. Beathard for San Francisco struggled to move the ball and the game was tied at 7 at halftime.
Weeden completed 7 of 15 passes for 50 yards, while Beathard was 10 of 17 for 82 yards.
With Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn nursing an undisclosed injury, recent acquisition Nick Rose made a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to put Houston up 10-7. Robbie Gould tied the game at 10 later in the third with a 39-yarder.
After Gould made a 41-yard field goal with 1:41 remaining, Houston third-string quarterback Joe Webb led the Texans down the field and found Vyncint Smith for a 41-yard touchdown with 27 seconds remaining.
With San Francisco down two running backs, including starter Jerick McKinnon (calf) and Matt Breida (shoulder), Jeremy McNichols got the start for the 49ers, rushing for 28 yards on 10 carries. Most offensive starters played the first two series.
Defensively, starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams did not play.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, safety Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback Johnathan Joseph and several other Texans defensive starters didn’t play. Offensively, starting wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller did not play.
No players from the 49ers or the Texans kneeled during the national anthem, although 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin did raise his right fist for the duration. Linebacker Eli Harold kneeled during the anthem the past two years, but stood on Saturday night.
49ers: Backup OL Erik Magnuson suffered a hamstring injury in the third quarter and limped to the locker room. DEs Solomon Thomas (concussion) and Arik Armstead (hamstring), TE George Kittle (shoulder), Breida (shoulder), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and McKinnon (calf) were inactive.
Texans: Starting CB Kevin Johnson suffered a concussion after defending a pass from Garoppolo on the first drive. Johnson landed awkwardly on his shoulder and was treated on the field by the team’s medical staff for nearly five minutes before being escorted to the locker room. O’Brien said after the game he was taken to the hospital and that he was doing OK. … Texans WR Sammie Coates Jr. also suffered a concussion.
LOWERING THE HEAD
San Francisco was twice flagged for the league’s new penalties for lowering the head to initiate contact, both in the second quarter. The first came on a punt return and was charged to Raheem Mostert and the second came against Jeremiah Attaochu while rushing the passer.
“Extremely disappointing. There were way too many penalties. We’ll look at each one. Some you can control and some you can’t, but they really hurt us. They were unacceptable.” — Shanahan on San Francisco’s 15 penalties for 140 yards
HE SAID IT
“I feel more comfortable just being out there with the guys longer. Last season, I came off the streets. This year, we have time to work on plays, work on being better.” —Texans WR Bruce Ellington
The 49ers (1-1) return to action on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Colts.
The Texans (2-0) visit the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, Aug. 25.