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Week 14 Game Recap: San Francisco 49ers 26, Houston Texans 16


What you need to know

San Francisco 49ers

The tightening bond between Jimmy Garoppolo and Marquise Goodwin took another step toward consummation against Houston. They connected early and often, with Goodwin being Garoppolo's go-to receiver when pressure -- whether from the the situation or from the Texans' pass rush -- was at its highest. Although he had a rushing performance we've grown accustomed to, Carlos Hyde appears to be the odd man out in this passing relationship. After racking up targets with Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard at quarterback, Hyde's largely been ignored by Garoppolo, as he prefers downfield passes to dumpoffs.

Houston Texans

DeAndrew White primarily played out of the slot and had one catch for 24 yards late in the game. He did have six targets on the day.

Tom Savage suffered a scary concussion which will leave his status in doubt this upcoming week.

San Francisco 49ers

QB Jimmy Garoppolo, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 33 - 334 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - -3 - 0
The one word that describes this performance by Garoppolo is "tough." Without Trent Brown at right tackle, Garoppolo was under constant pressure and taking repeated hits as he released the ball; typically by Jadeveon Clowney. Somehow, he still managed to deliver accurate downfield pass after accurate downfield pass -- even towards the sidelines. Two in particular you had to see to believe. On the first, he threaded a 30-yard pass to Kyle Juszczyk down the left sideline between two defenders while Clowney was taking his free shot at him. On the second, he hit Marquise Goodwin in stride on a deep out while getting hit -- illegally, it turned out -- by an unblocked Benardrick McKinney. The amazing thing about that throw was that Goodwin hadn't yet made his break toward the sideline when McKinney's hit arrived. Garoppolo just knew where Goodwin was supposed to be and threw it out there to him at the last possible second, trusting that he'd be there. It should be noted that Garoppolo did make a handful of ill-advised throws that could have been intercepted by better defenses. That said, at least they were downfield shots, not short out routes that can turn into pick-sixes.

RB Carlos Hyde, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 78 - 1 (1 targets)
This was a typical Hyde performance in terms of power and elusiveness. Perhaps the best illustration came on his game-long 31-yard run that turned a likely kneel-out-the-half drive into a field-goal-at-the-buzzer drive. He took a shotgun handoff around the left end, eluded linebacker Gimel President's penetration, and ran away from everyone, going untouched for 30 of the 31 yards. And true to form, Hyde didn't get tackled so much as he just happened to step out of bounds while obliterating Kareem Jackson along the sideline. The only negatives from a fantasy perspective were 1) somehow only having three carries during a fourth quarter in which San Francisco led throughout; 2) poorly tracking the ball and short-arming what would have been a wide-open deep touchdown catch across the middle of the field; and 3) being almost entirely invisible as a receiver otherwise. Of course, that latter negative is somewhat misleading, as Matt Breida also wasn't involved as a receiver. It probably has more to do with Jimmy Garoppolo, unlike his predecessors, not being a checkdown artist.

RB Matt Breida, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 27 - 0
With the 49ers using even more no huddle than they usually do and having multiple drives in the final five minutes of the first half, Breida replaced Carlos Hyde on the field for long stretches of plays at a time. Unfortunately, that increased playing time didn't result in increased production. The longest of Breida's 12 carries went for only 6 yards, mainly because there either were no holes to run through at the point of attack or the holes that opened up closed just as quickly.

RB Kyle Juszczyk, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 64 - 0 (4 targets)
Juszczyk was more involved than usual as a receiver this week, with two of his targets accounting for nearly all of the yardage on San Francisco's touchdown drive to go up 10-3 in the second quarter. On 2nd-and-8 from the 34-yard line, Juszczyk ran a wheel route down the left sideline and was able to hold on for a 29-yard catch despite getting hit by two defenders as he leapt for the ball. Two plays latter, he beat linebacker Zack Cunningham to the left flat on his short out route, and then ran away from Cunningham for an additional 24 yards, thereby setting the 49ers up with 1st-and-goal at the 4-yard line.

WR Marquise Goodwin, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 106 - 0 (12 targets)
This was an all-around great performance by Goodwin. He was successful against man and zone. He did damage all across the route tree. He eluded tacklers when he caught the ball. He helped out his quarterback by coming back to the football when Garoppolo was hit as he threw (which happened frequently). The best illustration of all of these things was on Goodwin's 32-yard catch in the second quarter. Lined up wide left, he ran a dig route across the deep middle, but adjusted it so that he remained underneath Houston's Cover-3 shell. As Garoppolo was getting blasted by Jadeveon Clowney, Goodwin adjusted his route even more to come back towards the ball, thereby giving his quarterback an easier target. When he snatched the ball out of the air, he immediately eluded two defenders and used his speed to gain an extra 20 yards. One final note: Goodwin had three red zone targets in a single third-quarter drive.

WR Trent Taylor, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (3 targets)
The silver lining of Taylor's quiet day was that two of his three targets came on 3rd down in the Texans half of the field. Unfortunately, they were short throws on 3rd-and-long, so his catches didn't do any damage. In addition, his other target was intercepted by cornerback Kareem Jackson. (Although it was the result of an errant through, so not Taylor's fault.)

WR Kendrick Bourne, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (2 targets)
After a holding penalty backed the 49ers out of the red zone, Bourne put them inside the 10 by catching a short comeback route on the outside and then evading cornerback Kevin Johnson's tackle for 18 yards. His second catch was nearly identical, except this time it was getting 11 yards back after consecutive penalties backed them into 2nd-and-19 from their own 4-yard line.

WR Aldrick Robinson, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (2 targets)
Both of Robinson's targets came on consecutive plays prior to Robbie Gould's half-ending field goal. With 30 seconds left, Robinson ran a dig route from slot right and was wide open for 18 yards. After a Jimmy Garoppolo spike, Robinson was once again lined up in the tight slot, but this time ran 10 yards directly to the middle of the field and sat down in Houston's zone. Cornerback Kareem Jackson was late on his drive toward the ball, so Robinson was able to make the catch and fall forward to set up a field goal from between the hash marks.

WR Louis Murphy, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (2 targets)
Once again, Murphy started but played a vanishingly small role in San Francisco's passing game. His two targets came in a six-play span during the third quarter. On the one that was completed, he ran a deep dig route in front of safety marcus Gilchrist from the left slot. Catching the ball in stride, Murphy was able to tack on an extra 5 yards and set San Francisco up in the red zone. Five plays later, Murphy was targeted on 2nd-and-goal at the 7-yard line, but cornerback Jonathan Joseph knocked the pass away.

TE George Kittle, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (2 targets)
On Kittle's first target, he sat down in Houston's underneath middle zone, caught the pass, and fell forward for 8 yards. His second target came on a West Coast staple, where the tight end runs his route across the formation behind the offensive line, and the quarterback delivers the pass after a play-action bootleg to the weak side. Safety Marcus Gilchrist, who was in a disguised man-to-man coverage on the play, was able to prevent a bigger gain; perhaps even a touchdown, as that side of the field was wide open.

TE Garrett Celek, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 67 - 1 (4 targets)
The entirety of Celek's contributions as a receiver came in a five-play span during the third quarter. On 1st-and-10 at San Francisco's 19-yard line, Celek lined up in a tight slot left position with trips right on the opposite side. He ran a simple post route and was completely uncovered. It would have been a 30-yard catch and run if not for slipshod tackling allowing him to tack on an additional 30. Four plays later, Celek scored a touchdown on the backside pass off of play-action bootleg that the 49ers seem to run at least 10 times per game. This time it worked, as Celek was wide open when his route broke into the left flat.


Houston Texans

QB T.J. Yates, 42 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 26 - 175 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 31 - 0
After Savage was knocked out with a concussion, TJ Yates came in and started hot for the offense. After missing his first two passed, Yates picked a part the 49ers completing 10 of his first 16 passes for touchdowns. Yates then only completed 4 of 10 passes stalling out the offense and struggling to move the football. Yates has shown that he can come in and move the ball but there are going to have to be some tweaks to the offense to make it work if he is the choice if Savage cant make it back.

QB Tom Savage, 25 offensive snaps, Pass: 6 - 12 - 63 - 0 TD / 0 INT
Tom Savage started the game 5 of 5 and was moving the ball well for the Texans offense. Protection started to break down and then the hits started piling up and Savage started taking sacks. After that point Savage completed 1 of his next 11 passes before an ugly scene taking a hit in the end zone and having his head hit the ground hard. Coming back in for one series, Savage was checked on again and ruled him out shortly with a concussion. His status for next week is question due to his concussion situation and the quarterback position is once again in flux.

RB Lamar Miller, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 53 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)
The Texans have really struggled to run the ball especially the past few games and only 53 yards on the day. His longest run was 11 yards and he was being met in the backfield before most runs could get started going. He only had 2 receptions for 7 yards and one of those was for -1 yards. Miller is the Texans only true back in the offense with injuries around him and he escaped injury after taking a big hit that knocked him out of the game for a short time.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 149 - 2 (16 targets)
As we know the offense will continue run through DeAndre Hopkins and he posted a 2 touchdown performance with catcher of 7 and 29 yards off the arm of T.J. Yates. After the early success Yates, the 49ers started to double cover Hopkins at all costs the second half that essentially slowed him for the remainder of the game. Hopkins did have 11 receptions for 149 yards during the game and did most of his work with Savage and beating the cover 2 looks from the 49ers. His best reception came on a 22 yard pass what saw his patent toe tap ability to get both feet in for a top notch reception. He did have a costly fumble on a screen pass where he was hit in traffic and coughed it up to give the 49ers an easy chip shot field goal to ice the game.

WR Will Fuller, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (5 targets)
It started out strong for Fuller catching back to back passes for 14 and 12 yards to extend drives in the 1st quarter. After that he was only targeted three more times with his first catch not coming again until late in the 2nd quarter on a jet sweep that went for no yards. The Texans did try to go over the top with T.J Yates to Hopkins but was overthrown with Fuller double covered. For his first game back, it was a very uninspiring effort.

TE Stephen Anderson, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (6 targets)
It was a rough day for Anderson and despite being targeted 6 times the Texans went away from him after a critical drop on 3rd down that hit him right in the hands. He also had a drop in a crucial drive but other than that he was a non-factor on offense. He had two receptions for 16 yards with his longest only 9 yards.