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14 ‘shaky’ observations from the 49ers win over the Texans

Marc Adams
Jan 4, 2022 at 8:56 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers were in a must-win situation. A loss to the Houston Texans would make a postseason berth much more difficult. And though the first half didn't exactly give fans a lot of confidence, the 49ers came back strong in the second half to win the game, 23-7.

The team started off shaky, and the quarterback looked shaky for a while, but the 49ers (and that rookie quarterback) made enough plays in the end. Here are my 14 shaky observations from the 49ers win on Sunday:

  • In case you hadn't heard, rookie quarterback Trey Lance made his second career start. He recorded his very first win as a starting quarterback.
  • Lance looked like a rookie making only his second start. He looked lost at times, and made some poor decisions. But that's to be expected.
  • Lance did, however, lead a scoring drive right before halftime. And in the third quarter, hit Elijah Mitchell for a touchdown pass to take the lead. Lance played much better in the second half. He finished 16 of 23 for 249 yards passing, with two touchdowns and one interception. Lance also had 31 yards rushing on 8 carries. He was very raw coming into this season. I believe he has a very bright future, and am pleased with how he's looked so far.
  • As for Mitchell, it was great to have him back. Sunday, he set a new 49ers record for most yards rushing in a rookie season. He finished the game with 119 yards rushing, to go with 11 yards receiving and a touchdown.

  • Ambry Thomas gets noticeably better each game. He did get beat for a long pass that was wiped out by an offensive holding call. And he dropped an interception. But he has been good in coverage, and is normally in position to make a play. He just has to learn to finish.
  • I can't imagine the 49ers game plan was to keep putting their rookie quarterback in third and long, but that was the story on offense early on. That's hard on a veteran quarterback, much less a rookie. In the second half, the offense was able to run the ball more effectively, which kept Lance from being in so many third and long situations.
  • The offense was mostly anemic in the first half, but did a nice job getting some points right before the half. John Madden used to say the first points were the hardest to get. That seemed to be the case for the 49ers on Sunday.
  • Deebo Samuel wasn't much of a factor early in this game. He then had a big drive-killing drop late in the third quarter. He leads the league with 10 dropped passes.
  • But Samuel came up big in the fourth quarter with a 45 yard touchdown catch from Lance.
  • Brandon Aiyuk had a strong game, finishing with four catches for 94 yards.
  • The defense was very good today. They kept the 49ers in the game when the offense wasn't scoring.
  • This just in: Josh Norman is still terrible.

  • And so is Dontae Johnson. (Although he did have a nice play toward the end of the game)

  • The rookies (Lance, Mitchell and Thomas) came up big in this game. The future is bright for the 49ers.

The loss in Nashville is now a potentially costly, season-ending loss, as the 49ers have to win this week in Los Angeles against the Rams in order to clinch a postseason spot. The Rams will be playing to win the division, so we can expect them to do everything they can to win as well. The 49ers have owned the Rams in recent years, but this one is bigger than the previous meetings.

Should the 49ers lose to the Rams, it's still possible San Francisco can make the playoffs, if the Falcons beat the Saints. But that isn't likely, so the 49ers need to take care of business. It's do or die time!
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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