Tale Of The Tape: Houston Texans At San Francisco 49ers
- QuarterbackMatt Schaub is struggling this season and he has already thrown three interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns. Schaub has been making key mistakes at big moments. While he has a quick release, excellent vision and reads defenses well, something is missing from his game and if he doesn’t find it, the Texans could lose their way this season.While the 49ers got on the right track in their win over the St. Louis Rams, Colin Kaepernick is struggling quite a bit. Instead of the wide open game that marked his play last year, Kaepernick appears to be concerned about mistakes. He has also toned down his running quite a bit and he needs to get back to the way he was playing.
- OffenseThe Texans have sensational balance on paper and should be nearly unstoppable. Few teams can match the running game they get with Arian Foster and Ben Tate, while Andre Johnson is still capable of dominating a game. However, the Texans simply are not finishing drives and they are not playing the way they can.With the 49ers’ attack struggling, Jim Harbaugh decided to go back to the basics and Frank Gore rewarded him with a sensational effort. Gore rushed for 153 yards and punished the Rams with his hard-charging style. Anquan Boldin can get open and he is coming off a five-catch, 90-yard effort against St. Louis. Jim Harbaugh would like to see Vernon Davis do a bit more.
- DefenseJ.J. Watt was the defensive player of the year in 2012, but he is starting to get frustrated with the way his team is playing. Watt had eight tackles vs. the Seahawks, while Houston linebacker Whitney Mercilus had six tackles and 2.5 sacks. Brian Cushing is coming off a nine-tackle effort and he also forced a fumble, but he suffered a concussion and may not play vs. the 49ers.The 49ers are going through a period of adjustment without Aldon Smith, who is going through rehab for his off-the-field problems. Glenn Dorsey stepped into the breach and recorded four tackles and 1.0 sack. NaVorro Bowman continues to play dominating football as he overpowered the rams with six tackles, 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble.
- Special TeamsSpecial teams have been a big problem for the Texans. They struggle in coverage and rarely make big returns, which has hurt them in big games in the past. Former Raider Shane Lechler is punting the ball well, and he averaged 45.3 yards per attempt vs. the Seahawks.The 49ers are struggling on special teams once again. They rarely break big returns and that costs them in the field position battle. Phil Dawson was supposed to solidify the Niners’ placekicking, but he missed both of his attempts vs. the Rams. Andy Lee averaged 54.7 yards per punt in that game.
The 49ers are not where they want to be at this point in the season, but they have the tools to improve and get back on track. The Texans are simply not playing with the effort and confidence that they need to and this game could turn out to be a big problem for them. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor