The big issue is Arian Foster's left hamstring. He left the game in the first quarter after re-injuring it. The team feels good about its depth with Derrick Ward and Ben Tate, but make no mistake -- a major countdown of Foster’s readiness for the Sept. 11 opener against the Colts is now underway. Ward ran for a score and Tate had a 4.7-yard average including a very nice two-cut run on a draw that showed patience and vision. Jeffrey Martin described the Foster scene here.
Jacoby Jones had a Matt Schaub pass in the end zone go through his hands early on. Yes, it was on him quickly, had a lot of zip and required him to reach for it. But it’s the sort of catchable pass he misses that drives his critics crazy. It killed a drive that turned into the first of Neil Rackers' three field goals.
Troy Nolan took an interception off Colin Kaepernick 73 yards for a touchdown after picking Alex Smith, too. Good news for a backup safety at a position where depth is a question. Kaepernick's was a horrible, telegraphed throw. Houston's defense was good against bad signal-callers, who managed to combine for a 7.6 passer rating. [I initially wrote that Dominique Barber had the pick of Smith. I did not see that play for myself, and the official NFL game book credits Barber. Apologies.]
While Houston played starters into the third quarter, the 49ers went to backups far earlier. That’s nice that the Texans can push them around and build confidence and continuity. I understand Jim Harbaugh is sticking to his plans and not allowing an opponent to dictate what he does. But how does such a scenario benefit the home team?
Twenty-eight guys earned a mention on the defensive stat sheet. Mario Williams was not one of them.