With just four career starts under his belt, San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is proving to be a battle-tested warrior.
In the fourth meeting between the 49ers and Houston Texans, Garoppolo rebounded from a sluggish start to lead the 49ers to their second straight victory.
It's the first time two-game win streak for the 49ers since 2014.
The game opened with the 49ers' offense going three-and-out on the second offensive possession, Garoppolo threw an interception to Texans' cornerback Kareem Jackson.
It was Garoppolo's second interception of the season and of his career.
"We missed a few explosives early in the first quarter," said head coach and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. "Everyone kind of had their turn missing them. I was proud of our guys because usually when you miss some ops like that that we knew we would have, we came up a little short. Guys kind of get down. But no one hesitated in the second quarter."
Garoppolo finished the first quarter 3-of-7, 25 yards, and one interception.
He was playing behind an offensive line that was missing right tackle Trent Brown. Veteran guard Zane Beadles started at right tackle and went up against Texans' all-pro defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
"I think the offensive line did a great job today, especially mixing and matching a couple of guys in there," said Garoppolo.
However, as they have all year, the 49ers relied on its defense to keep Houston out of the end zone. Houston went up with a field goal early in the first quarter, which were the only points the 49ers' defense allowed until the end of the first half.
Throughout the afternoon, the 49ers kept the Texans' quarterbacks on the move, finishing the day with three sacks and only allowed 90 yards rushing on 23 attempts.
Texans' starting quarterback Tom Savage left the game with a concussion. He took a brutal hit in his end zone and was visibly shaking. Veteran T.J. Yates took over for Savage and finished the day 14-for-26, with 175 yards and two touchdown passes.
Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster and defensive back Dontae Johnson led all defensive players with seven tackles. The 49ers' defense tallied three sacks, coming from Eli Harold, DeForest Buckner, and K'waun Williams.
Texans' wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins proved to be a challenge for the 49ers' secondary.
On Yates' first drive, he marched the Texans down the field in eight plays and threw a touchdown pass to Hopkins.
Whatever adjustments the 49ers tried to make at halftime to cover Hopkins did not seem to work.
To start the third quarter, the Texans came out again throwing the ball to Hopkins. 49ers' cornerback Donte Johnson committed two pass interference penalties on Hopkins to help move the ball downfield for the Texans.
Yates found Hopkins in the end zone on the sixth play of the drive for a touchdown pass to put the Texans up by three.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh benched Johnson after the series and replaced him with defensive back Greg Mabin.
"We had a rough first drive coming out in the third quarter," said Shanahan. "They (Houston) went down and got that touchdown right away. Then they (the 49ers' defense) kept them out the rest of the game. I thought Mabin came in and answered very well. I know Donte had a rough drive coming out in the third quarter. We got Mabin in there to give him a chance. From what I saw live and he did a good job."
Garoppolo and the 49ers' offense responded quickly and tied the game in the third quarter with their first possession in the third quarter.
Kicker Robbie Gould was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, hitting from 52, 35, 25 and 41 yards.
So far this season, Gould is 3-for-3 from at least 50 yards.
After the defense halted a Texans drive, the 49ers' offense took the ball for the ninth time for a six-play, 3:33 drive that was highlighted by a 61-yard catch and run from tight end Garrett Celek.
"I thought he (Celek) was gone for a second there on that long one," said Garoppolo.
Shanahan was also pleased with what he saw from the 49ers' receiving corps.
"In the pass game, whether it's our fullback, our receivers or our tight ends, especially today but even so last week, I think some guys have made some plays that we didn't earlier in the year," said Shanahan.
On the day, Garoppolo completed 20 passes to eight receivers and threw for 334 yards, the first time he's cracked the 300-yard mark in his career. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin led the 49ers' receivers with six catches for 106 yards.
Next Sunday marks the second of three straight games the 49ers have against the AFC South when they host the Tennessee Titans.
|11 (87)||Penalties (Yds)||8 (81)|
|5 (41)||Punts (Avg)||6 (43)|
|34:49||Time of Pos.||25:11|
|49ers Player Stats|
|Texans Player Stats|
|W. Fuller V||3||26||0||14|