March 22, 2018

Gameday Prep: 49ers Edition

The Houston Texans are headed to San Francisco to face the 49ers in a pivotal game in the 2013 season. Sitting at the 2 and 2 mark, the Texans are set for a Sunday night showdown that will test their will as a team. The 49ers are built to run the football and dominate defensively from whistle to whistle, but the Texans need games like these to test where they are in the NFL pecking order.

We took a look at our Texans to watch and looked closer at the 49ers in our Know Your opponent segment earlier this week.


What To Watch


The Offensive Line Shuffle

The Texans are getting back a key piece of their offensive line with Duane Brown coming back to the lineup, which is a positive sign for a struggling offensive line. This could be a big help with the way Ryan Harris has filled in the past two weeks at left tackle. He could help out and take some snaps away from Derek Newton at right tackle, who has been anything but the word consistent. Ben Jones will get his first start of the season with Brandon Brooks already “out” for this game with a toe injury. The offensive line’s performance through the first four weeks plays into “some” of Matt Schaub’s issues. They have caused Schaub to have happy feet in the pocket with the pressures and hits they are giving up, but at the same time Schaub could help the cause too with better pocket awareness.



Throw, Throw and Throw Some More

The one thing that people don’t want is what the Texans need to do to win this game, throw the football. The 355 yards through the air last week against the Seattle Seahawks’ top rated secondary was overshadowed by the interceptions. The 49ers have a stout front seven and the way to get them on their heels is the exact way the Texans did it last week, by throwing. Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman will make running the ball tough, but to get the confidence up for Schaub he will need to throw the ball some more.

The running game will be there and Arian Foster and Ben Tate will get theirs, but running lanes will be tough to come by throughout the game. The game plan should be similar to what the Texans have already shown and back into the hands of Schaub.


Team Defense

Contain Colin Kaepernick, slow Frank Gore and have any receiver not named Vernon Davis or Anquan Boldin beat you in one on one situations. The 49ers have plenty of firepower to put points on the board, but getting Kaepernick to beat the Texans is what the defense wants to do. The 49ers offensive line can wear down the defense and Gore can be a tough running back to slow down. Kaepernick is still learning the game and he has shown some signs of struggles in the first quarter of the season. Coverages and pass rush to confuse the second year quarterback will be key and the defense, like always, will be ready to keep the Texans in the game.


The Ed Reed Factor

No one wants to talk about the positive impact that safety Ed Reed has brought to the Texans’ defense. The front office did not bring in Reed to be a difference maker in the run game, but in the passing game. Since Reed has shown up in the lineup in week 3, things have changed for offensive passing attacks. Reed plays in the middle of the field in their base 3-4 alignment and in dime/nickel situations he plays on the deep right side of the defense and with that teams have been very aware that Reed is on the field.

Two games without Reed (San Diego, Tennessee) 11 pass attempts over 20 yards plus, 2 to middle and 3 right of the field. 231.5 passing yards a game.

Two games with Reed (Baltimore, Seattle) 4 pass attempts over 20 yards plus, 0 to middle and 1 to right of the field. 126 passing yards a game.


Matt Schaub and Gary Kubiak

We are done beating this dead horse. There is no secret what both of them must do this week….win.


You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.




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