49ers Suffer Shutout Loss to the Houston Texans in Preseason Finale

Aug 25, 2022, 9:33 PM | Updated: 9:53 pm
HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 25: Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass during the first...
HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 25: Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass during the first quarter of a preseason game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on August 25, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

One word to describe the offensive line of the 49ers Thursday night: Yikes.

The San Francisco 49ers suffered their first loss of the preseason, getting shutout by the Houston Texans, 17-0.

With LT Trent Williams and RT Mike McGlinchey out, the reserve linemen got a chance to flourish but oh boy did they not, giving up countless pressures that had all three quarterbacks running for their lives.

The showing was so bad it had the media reacting in disbelief.

Leading to this gem from Williams regarding his young counterparts’ performances.

“Coach is going to do a lot of coaching,” Williams said during an in-game interview.

Which lead to this assessment from head coach Kyle Shanahan.

“It was pretty rough. I mean, we didn’t play clean at all,” Shanahan said postgame. I thought we just struggled to execute so I thought it was pretty sloppy play and wish it could have been cleaner.”

Not great to close out the preseason.

Game Recap

The 49ers started out with the ball, seeing there first positive sign of the day when Lance connected with fullback Kyle Juszczyk on a play-action throw, getting the first down and 15 yards total. Optimism quickly dissipated from there as the next three downs ended with a long ball between Lance and wide receiver Deebo Samuel that couldn’t find the mark. A possible pass interference by a Texans cornerback that wasn’t called, but the miss represents a theme for the duo.

Moving forward, Houston began to take over the contest midway through the first.

Rookie running back Dameon Pierce was the culprit of the breakthrough, tearing through the 49ers defense all the way down to the red zone. The Red & Gold almost got the stop but penalties plagued the team once again, this time rookie CB Samuel Womack III getting called for the pass interference on WR Nico Collins.

Now on the one-yard-line, Pierce sneaked it for the first touchdown of the day.

Into the second quarter and not much had changed for the San Francisco. Trey Lance started the quarter out with his third series of the game, but unfortunately his accuracy and delivery were a concern again. Despite delivering a non-optimal ball to WR Malik Turner, the 49ers put together a small string of drives before suffering a turnover on downs. On fourth and short, the 49ers handed it off to RB Trey Sermon who got gets swallowed for a turnover-on-downs.

Holding storing on defense, the Bay Area squad got the ball back with a little less than a minute to go. Brock Purdy time.

The rookie quarterback out of Iowa State started the drive off well, hitting wideout Jaquan Jennings downfield for a 30-yard completion, high-pointing the ball perfectly. Momentum halted there as the offensive line was called for three false starts in a row, including one on backup center Keaton Sutherland that got spooked by the referee’s whistle. With little time remains, Shanahan chose to just run out the clock.

Penalties were a major them for the 49ers Thursday, costing them numerous times.

Onto the second half and more of the same: penalties. A P.I. by Tariq Castro-Fields and a roughing the passer by Drake Jackson allows the Texans to march down the field, eventually getting all six points via WR Chris Moore touchdown catch.

14-0 Texans.

The rest of the game followed suit, as not more than a field goal was scored in the remaining 26 minutes of the contest. A game of penalties and mistakes, Purdy almost closed out the night with a touchdown throw, but it was inexplicably dropped by WR Willie Snead with no one around him.

17-0 is the final score, and the 49ers return to Santa Clara 2-1 in the preseason.

Trey Lance & The QBs

Game 3 served as the last chance before week 1 in Chicago that Lance could get some live-game reps, going out there for three series Thursday night. The second-year QB finished 7 for 11 with 49 yards passing, and a 73.7 passer rating.

The Lance experience has been a rollercoaster through out training camp, continuing that in Houston with some good throws and some not so good throws. The North Dakota State product flourished in play-action, running to his right before finding Juszczyk on the first drive for the first down. He later hit TE Ross Dwelley for an eight years gain on a similar play going to his right. Trey continues to show conformability with those type of throws, an area he’ll need to master to become a great QB.

However, his stationary throws inside the pocket are still a work in progress.

On a crossing route by wideout Malik Turner, Lance threw the ball low, not allowing his receiver to turn up field for yards after the catch. Lance also missed one in the dirt during the first quarter when he was scrambling to his right. Yes the constant pressure didn’t help but Trey will be faced with that throughout his career, the short yardage passes should be an area of focus for quarterbacks coach Brian Griese the next few weeks.

As for the others, Nate Sudfeld finished 5 for 10, 49 yards and a pick, while Purdy finished 13 for 20, 182 yards, and also an INT.

Purdy was the standout gunslinger in this one, racking up more yards than Houston’s team QBs combined. His poise during the two-minute drill showed real promise for a player picked last in the draft. Additionally, his character throughout the second half, specifically in the fourth quarter, had to have made his coaches very happy. Running in circles on third and longs, the rookie just would not quit, trying to make a play for his team.

“Man, all the confidence in the world in those guys,” Lance said about his counterparts. “The way they come to work every single day and they’re locked in. There’s going to be ups-and-downs for all of us but us being a tight group helps a lot.”

His hard work should have been rewarded to close out the night but like the rest of the team, Snead had a big whiff in this one.

Sudfeld seems to have the No.2 spot in the depth chart tightly secured, so expect Purdy to most likely be cut come Tuesday’s deadline. If he makes it through waivers, the Red & Gold will happily take him on their practice squad for the season.

The Running Back Room

Another dilemma to solve is the running back situation, as there is too much talent for not enough spots.

With three spots already taken, Trey Sermon, Jordan Mason and Ty Davis-Price are vying for that fourth and final spot in the 53-man roster.

Sermon got the bulk of the work but couldn’t make much of it, finishing the night with eight carries for a mere 20 yards. His longest play of the night went for 12 yards. After poor showings in the previous two games, Thursday’s performance didn’t help his case much, leaving some to wonder if this is the end of the line for running back in the bay.

Mason was the most effective ballcarrier of the night, only finishing with seven yards on four carries but having a nice eight yard gain up the middle.

Ty Davis-Price finished in the negative, four carries for -3 yards. Nevertheless, I expect the LSU rookie to get the roster nod since the team spent a third-round pick on him this year.


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