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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


49ers, Trey Lance slug their way past Texans, 23-7

Jan 2, 2022 at 4:05 PM


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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
HOU 0 7 0 0 7
SF 0 3 7 13 23

It wasn't always pretty, but the San Francisco 49ers got the win they absolutely needed to have over the Houston Texans on Sunday,

The 49ers overcame a slow start offensively to take a 23-7 win, with two second half touchdown passes from rookie quarterback Trey Lance, who drew the start in place of an injured Jimmy Garoppolo. Meanwhile, the 49ers' defense shut out the Texans after giving up a touchdown early in the second quarter.

Lance finished with 249 yards on 16-of-23 passing with two touchdowns and one interception, while running back Elijah Mitchell rushed for 119 yards on 21 carries with one touchdown catch. Texans quarterback Davis Mills had 163 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 21-of-32 passing in a losing effort. The 49ers outgained the Texans 416-222 on the day while holding a 175-86 edge on the ground

First Half

Offense was sparse in the early going as the two teams played a scoreless first quarter. The Texans went three-and-out twice after receiving the opening kickoff, with the 49ers having a three-and-out of their own in-between. The 49ers started to move the ball on their second possession, advancing 30 yards in eight plays, but turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert a 4th-and-1 at the Texans' 45-yard line.

The 49ers stepped up defensively after the turnover on downs, forcing a punt after five plays that was downed at their own 4-yard line. They moved the ball out of their end by putting together a 10-play, 56-yard drive that got them across midfield, with Lance completing three passes for 36 yards on the possession, but the Texans forced a punt at their own 40 that gave them the ball at the 12-yard line.

Another three-and-out followed the punt, which led to an 18-yard return by Brandon Aiyuk to the 49ers' 45-yard line. But Lance was intercepted on the next play by defensive back Desmond King, giving Houston the ball at their own 20 after an illegal block penalty negated King's return.


The Texans turned the interception into a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with the first points of the game. After completing five passes for 60 yards earlier in the drive, Mills connected with wide receiver Brandin Cooks from eight yards out on a 3rd-and-Goal to take a 7-0 lead with just under two minutes left in the first half.


The Texans forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, using their timeouts to keep enough time on the clock to take over with 1:18 remaining. The 49ers returned the favor, forcing a three-and-out of their own that took just 40 seconds off the clock and took over at their own 25-yard line with 38 seconds remaining. A 17-yard completion from Lance to Deebo Samuel along with a five-yard defensive delay of game penalty moved the ball to the 47-yard line, then Lance connected with Aiyuk for completions of 29 and 12 yards to set up a 37-yard field goal attempt with three seconds remaining. Kicker Robbie Gould connected on the attempt, putting the 49ers on the scoreboard (7-3) as time expired in the half.

Second Half

The 49ers found a spark to start the second half, thanks in large part to a big completion from Lance to Aiyuk. Lance found Aiyuk over the middle on a 3rd-and-6 from the 49ers' 24-yard line, then Aiyuk ran downfield for a 43-yard gain to the Texans' 33.


Unfortunately for the 49ers, the possession ended with a turnover on downs when Lance failed to connect with Aiyuk on a 4th-and-1 from the 27.


A strange series of events followed the turnover on downs that eventually resulted in the 49ers taking the lead. A third down face mask penalty on 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt gave the Texans a first down at their own 48-yard line, then Mills was picked off by lineback Marcell Harris two plays later to give the 49ers the ball at their own 42. Texans WR Chris Conley appeared to jar the ball loose from Harris during the return, but Harris' forward progress was ruled to have been stopped, keeping the ball in possession of the 49ers.


On the first play after the interception, the 49ers moved from the 42 to the Texans' 21 on a 37-yard pass interference call on cornerback Terrance Mitchell. Four plays later, Lance found Elijah Mitchell for an eight-yard score and a 10-7 lead.


The two teams traded punts after the touchdown, then the Texans took over at their own 10 with just under two minutes remaining in the quarter and put together an 8-play, 63-yard drive that was boosted in large part by 56 yards in pass interference penalties from cornerbacks Josh Norman and Dontae Johnson. But Mills was sacked for an eight-yard loss by defensive end Samson Ebukam on a 3rd-and-3 from the 49ers' 18-yard line, then kicker Kai Fairbairn missed wide left on a 45-yard field goal attempt to keep the score at 10-7 with 12:03 remaining in the game.

The 49ers were able to put some distance between themselves and the Texans on the next possession after Lance connected with Deebo Samuel for a 45-yard score. Lance completed a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Jauan Jennings on a 3rd-and-3 play from the 49ers' 42-yard line, then found Samuel deep downfield for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead.


The 49ers forced a Texans punt after six plays on the next possession, then took over with 6:44 remaining in the game and were able to put together a 10-play, 71-yard scoring drive that took just over three minutes off the clock. Lance connected with tight end George Kittle for a remarkable 29-yard catch on the fifth play of the drive, then Mitchell ran for a 37-yard gain to give the 49ers a 1st-and-Goal at the 6-yard line. A touchdown run by Lance was nullified by a holding call on Aiyuk on second down, then Gould connected on a 27-yard field goal for a 20-7 lead.


The Texans took over at their own 19-yard line after the field goal with just over three minutes left on the clock, but their hopes faded quickly after turning the ball over on downs on four plays. The 49ers ran the clock down to 1:14 before adding a 36-yard field goal from Gould to extend their lead to 23-7. The Texans drove deep into 49ers' territory on their final possession but failed to score before time expired.

The 49ers (9-7) wrap up their regular season schedule on the road next Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams (4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT, FOX). The Rams moved to 12-4 on the season earlier today with a 20-19 road win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Texans (4-12) finish their season at home next Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.


HOU Team Stats SF
222 Total Yards 416
136 Passing Yards 241
86 Rushing Yards 175
5.1 Avg Yards per Pass 10.8
3.2 Avg Yards per Run 4.7
0 Fumbles Lost 0
1 Int Thrown 1
3 Sacks Allowed 1
30:31 Time of Pos 29:29
5 Penalties 7

Texans Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Davis Mills 21/32 163 1 1
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Rex Burkhead 16 47 2.9 0
Royce Freeman 6 25 4.2 0
Jaylen Samuels 3 7 2.3 0
Davis Mills 1 4 4 0
Chris Conley 1 3 3 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Brandin Cooks 7 11 66 1
Nico Collins 2 5 35 0
Rex Burkhead 6 6 32 0
Jaylen Samuels 3 3 14 0
Brevin Jordan 1 1 9 0
Pharaoh Brown 1 1 9 0
Royce Freeman 0 1 0 0
Chris Conley 1 2 -2 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Davis Mills 1 0
Rex Burkhead 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Ka'imi Fairbairn 0 1 0 1
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Cameron Johnston 7 46.9 1 53
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
Tremon Smith 98 19.6 0 26
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Desmond King 2 11.5 0 15
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Eric Murray 6-2 0 0 0
Desmond King 6-2 0 1 0
Christian Kirksey 5-4 0 0 0
Terrance Mitchell 5-2 0 0 0
Kamu Grugier-Hill 5-2 0 0 0
Justin Reid 5-1 0 0 0
Roy Lopez 3-2 0 0 0
Neville Hewitt 3-0 0 0 0
DeMarcus Walker 2-0 0 0 0
Jordan Jenkins 2-0 1 0 0
Tavierre Thomas 1-1 0 0 0
Jaleel Johnson 1-1 0 0 0
Jonathan Greenard 1-1 0 0 0
Eric Wilson 1-0 0 0 0
Garret Wallow 1-0 0 0 0
Michael Dwumfour 1-0 0 0 0
Pharaoh Brown 1-0 0 0 0
Terrence Brooks 1-0 0 0 0

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Trey Lance 16/23 249 2 1
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Elijah Mitchell 21 119 5.7 0
Trey Lance 8 31 3.9 0
Deebo Samuel 7 19 2.7 0
George Kittle 1 6 6 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Brandon Aiyuk 4 6 94 0
Deebo Samuel 3 6 63 1
George Kittle 1 2 29 0
Jauan Jennings 2 2 25 0
Trent Sherfield 1 2 12 0
Elijah Mitchell 2 2 11 1
Kyle Juszczyk 2 2 9 0
JaMycal Hasty 1 1 6 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Brandon Aiyuk 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Robbie Gould 3 3 37 2
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 4 39.8 2 52
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
JaMycal Hasty 35 17.5 0 28
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Brandon Aiyuk 3 7.3 0 18
Travis Benjamin 1 11 0 11
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Fred Warner 7-8 0 0 1
Marcell Harris 6-4 0 1 0
K'Waun Williams 4-0 0 0 0
Arik Armstead 3-5 0.5 0 0
Ambry Thomas 3-1 0 0 0
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 2-3 0 0 0
Jaquiski Tartt 2-3 0 0 0
Jimmie Ward 2-2 0 0 0
Samson Ebukam 1-2 0.5 0 0
Mark Nzeocha 1-1 0 0 0
Dontae Johnson 1-1 0 0 0
River Cracraft 1-1 0 0 0
Trent Williams 1-0 0 0 0
Charles Omenihu 1-0 0 0 0
D.J. Jones 1-0 0 0 0
JaMycal Hasty 1-0 0 0 0
Charlie Woerner 1-0 0 0 0
Jeff Wilson 1-0 0 0 0
Arden Key 1-0 1 0 0
Jordan Willis 1-0 1 0 1


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