The first passing play from Trey Lance went for 15 yards as he rolled out and hit Kyle Juszczyk outside of the numbers. His next pass was incomplete to Brandon Aiyuk, while his third was a deep shot on 3rd & 2 was slightly underthrown to Deebo. On the play, Aiyuk was streaking open across the middle, but Lance had his mind made up he was going down the sideline to Samuel.
Jeff Wilson Jr. and the offensive line looked good on the opening drive. Wilson Jr. had two carries for ten yards. Jaylon Moore started at left tackle over Justin Skule. I bet Kyle Shanahan couldn’t wait to get Moore, or anyone else, action with the starters over Skule.
The first drive went as you’d expect it to go defensively without the front-7. The Texans ran the ball down the throat of the 49ers after Samson Ebukam started the game with a sack. Dameon Pierce had six carries for 37 yards, including a 12-yard run. Pierce capped the drive off with a touchdown.
Houston tested Samuel Womack a few times on the drive. Womack made two nice plays where he showcased his physicality but was flagged for pass interference in the end zone.
The second drive for Lance began with a sack where three of the five offensive linemen were beaten. To be fair, you could pick your choice on the drive for which 49er missed a block. The offense was bailed out on an illegal contact penalty on 3rd & 17 but was unable to generate a first down after.
After the defense got a stop, Lance came out for a third drive. This time, with Trey Sermon at running back. Kyle Shanahan moved the pocket more on this drive, which seemed to calm Lance down. As was the case during practice, Lance is more accurate on the move when you remove his feet from the equation. After a slow start, Lance completed five passes in a row.
Sermon ran well, as he had 22 yards on five carries to start the drive, although he did give up a pressure that caused Lance to get sacked nearly. Speaking of running, Aaron Banks got in the pancake column:
The offense couldn’t get much of anything done during the first half. There were seven penalties for 54 yards, including an interception by Nate Sudfeld. Brock Purdy had an opportunity to make something happen in the two-minute drill, but a penalty stalled that drive.
Interestingly enough, Jordan Mason came into the game before Ty Davis-Price. We’ll see if that means anything, but it can’t hurt. Mason’s first carry went for eight yards.
The penalties didn’t stop, as rookie cornerback, Tariq Castro-Field gave up a pass interference that put Houston into scoring territory. Not to be outdone, Drake Jackson was flagged for a pretty weak roughing the passer call.
Jackson purposely lowered where he was hitting to avoid a helmet-to-helmet call on Davis Mills. But was still flagged for a penalty. The extra first down put Hoston in a position for another score.
Tashaun Gipson was on the wrong end of the touchdown. As a veteran, you’d like to see him not backpedal in the end zone and drive on a vertical route down the seam. That score made it 14-0, Houston.
Purdy and Sudfeld would rotate series in the third quarter. Purdy had six attempts for 76 yards at one point compared to Sudfeld’s seven attempts for 37 yards. Sudfeld came up short on 4th and 1 on a quarterback sneak. However, Purdy had an interception that he’d like to have back in the fourth quarter.
Ironically, the one time the broadcast should’ve brought up Jimmy Garoppolo, they didn’t. I’m not sure what his deal was, but Kirk Herbstreit went out of his way to mention Garoppolo’s name at every opportunity — most where it didn’t make any sense. It got progressively worse as the game went along.
Get ready for an overdose of critiquing, especially for Lance. It’s impossible to evaluate him behind a makeshift line. The preseason is over. Next up, Chicago in 17 days.
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