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49ers starters score opening touchdown, play two drives in second preseason game

For the majority of Saturday’s matchup with the Houston Texans, the 49ers starters were excellent, but their appearance ended on a sour note.

Jimmy Garoppolo led an 87-yard touchdown drive to open the game. The offensive starters played the subsequent drive and marched down the field. But two Weston Richburg penalties backed the 49ers out of the red zone. Garoppolo slightly overthrew Dante Pettis on the ensuing play, he couldn’t corral the pass, and the Texans intercepted the ball. That was all we saw of the starting unit Saturday evening.

Garoppolo’s first big-time throw of the game came on third and 7, hitting Marquise Goodwin along the left sideline for a 40-yard gain, a sight that has continued to reappear throughout training camp.

Two plays later, the 49ers found themselves in another third-and-long spot. On third and 9, Garoppolo hit Goodwin for an eight-yard gain over the middle. Kyle Shanahan opted to go for it. On fourth and 1, Garoppolo hung in the pocket and found fullback Kyle Juszczyk for a two-yard gain and the first down.

The 49ers marched to the two-yard line and converted on third down again. Garoppolo found Trent Taylor for a two-yard touchdown near the back of the end zone. It was Taylor’s first catch of the preseason.

In one drive’s worth of work, Garoppolo went 6 for 7 with 87 yards and a touchdown.

The 49ers defense, however, did not fare as well. The Texans easily marched up the field for a 79-yard drive that resulted in a one-yard touchdown to Bruce Ellington. The play was covered poorly, with Ellington sitting in an open pocket that Jaquiski Tartt was late to cover.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson completed five of eight passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. He did not play beyond the first drive.

Garoppolo and company did. They continued to move the ball in their second drive, picking up three additional third down conversions before things ended disappointingly. On first and 10, at the Houston 12-yard line, Richburg was flagged for holding, then unsportsmanlike conduct, backing the 49ers all the way to the 37-yard line. On the following play, Garoppolo’s throw for Pettis sailed slightly high, hitting Pettis’ fingertips, tipping to Houston for an interception.

Garoppolo completed 10 of his 12 attempts for 136 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. He converted on six third downs in two drives. Goodwin added three catches for 61 yards.

The majority of San Francisco’s defensive starters remained in the game for its second drive, aside from DeForest Buckner, Adrian Colbert, and Tartt. After allowing a first down on the first play, the 49ers forced a punt.

Several 49ers defensive starters, including Ahkello Witherspoon, Reuben Foster, and Jimmie Ward, remained in the game through the third drive, which resulted in a punt.


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