49ers fall to Texans 16-13 in 2nd preseason game
HOUSTON — Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and the Houston Texans earned a 16-13 preseason win over the 49ers on Saturday night.
Watson led the Texans down the field, going 5 of 8 for 73 yards, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington.
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.
Watson’s efficiency matched a nice opening drive from San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Trent Taylor.
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.
Backup quarterbacks Brandon Weeden for Houston and C.J. Beathard for San Francisco struggled to move the ball as efficiently as the starters did on the opening drives and the game was tied 7-7 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 hit a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to put Houston up 10-7. Robbie Gould tied the score at 10 later in the third with a 39-yarder.
After Gould made a 41-yard field goal with 1:41 remaining to put San Francisco up 13-10, 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. In some light shuffling, backup left guard Mike Person started at right guard, and Joshua Garnett played with the starters on the second 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 also 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. . 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.
The 49ers (1-1) return to action on Saturday against the Colts in Indianapolis.
The Texans (2-0) visit the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday.