1. Receiver mix. A crisp week of practices for the 49ers’ offense didn’t translate into the game. Quarterback Alex Smith too frequently faced pressure and/or couldn’t find open receivers. Tight end Vernon Davis dropped a short pass when Randy Moss appeared open down the field. The Texans nearly picked off a deeper pass for Mario Manningham on a pass Smith likely threw only because there appeared to be pass interference on the play. Officials didn’t throw a flag. It was that kind of night for the first-team offense. Later, Moss got open deep, showing good speed, but he couldn't snare a pass from backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Rookie first-round pick A.J. Jenkins made a positive impact with the backups. A well-run route gave him room to make an overhead catch for a 32-yard reception from Josh Johnson.
2. Backup QB race. Kaepernick completed 4 of 8 passes for 19 yards. He also gained 12 yards on a scramble. Johnson was next off the bench, completing 4 of 6 attempts for 64 yards. His connection with Jenkins was a highlight for the 49ers’ passing game. The quarterback competitions became a footnote as the 49ers dealt with attrition at running back. Brandon Jacobs left the game on a cart with an apparent knee injury. Rookie second-round choice LaMichael James left on a cart with what appeared to be an injury to his ankle or foot. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are the running backs most important to the 49ers, but Jacobs and James are supposed to provide depth. No word yet on the severity of those injuries.
3. Perrish's push. This was one of the all-time worst notes I’ve ever included in a preview package. Perrish Cox, battling Chris Culliver for the nickel corner role, didn’t even make the trip to Houston. That made it pretty tough for him to make a “push” of any kind. Worse, I previously looked forward to Cox facing his former team, but the 49ers do not play Denver until next week. Culliver did play, at least. I noticed him ceding a reception to Keshawn Martin over the middle. Culliver also missed what would have been a tough open-field tackle in run support. He was covering Kevin Walter closely on an incomplete pass from Matt Schaub over the middle. To be continued.