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49ers look lost in 30-7 loss to Texans

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49ers look lost in 30-7 loss to Texans

Aug. 27, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- One early mistake did nothing to rattle Matt Schaub.Schaub stepped back to pass on the first play of the game and threw right to 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks a few yards away. After that rare blunder, Houston's reliable quarterback was spot-on.Schaub recovered after the early interception, leading the Texans on scoring drives in each of their next three series in a 30-7 exhibition rout of the rebuilding San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night.
MAIOCCO: Blog -- 49ers vs. Texans In-Game notes
"We had a lot of early mistakes and turnovers but guys bounced back and made plays," Schaub said. "I think that shows the maturity of our team that those mistakes aren't going to linger."Troy Nolan made two interceptions for new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, returning the first pick 73 yards for a touchdown to give the Texans 24 straight first-half points after they fell behind 7-0.Schaub enhanced an already impressive preseason, going 16 for 24 for 180 yards and a touchdown for the unbeaten Texans (3-0). So far, Houston looks very much like an AFC contender, although the Texans had to remove 2010 NFL rushing leader Arian Foster when his troublesome hamstring began bothering him again late in the first quarter.Coach Gary Kubiak is optimistic Foster will be ready for the opener Sept. 11 against the defending AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts."We don't think it's anything worse than what we were dealing with before," Kubiak said of Foster, who sat out the first preseason game.San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith wound up 2 for 6 for 17 yards, just 4 more yards in the air than he lost in two sacks.There weren't very many people to boo him this time.
RELATED: Few bright spots in 49ers' loss to Texans
The Candlestick Park stands were about one-third full a week after things turned violent and two men were shot in a parking lot after the 49ers beat the Bay Area rival Oakland Raiders 17-3.NFL security chief Jeff Miller attended Saturday's game and said he's optimistic Candlestick's beefed up security and increased police presence can help prevent further incidents of violence this season."We all recognize what happened last week was very unsettling and something we want to change," Miller said. "Tonight what I saw in the parking areas was that the police were extremely engaged. They did a fantastic job working with the fans, trash removal, little things like that."The 49ers got more highlights from their first-team defense than from Smith and Co."Obviously we took our lumps tonight," Smith said. "It was rough for all of us. We have to find a way to get something going and get right."Brooks intercepted that first pass by Schaub and returned it 13 yards for San Francisco's lone points - and this was hardly the kind of performance new coach Jim Harbaugh hoped to see at this stage.Houston had run 32 offensive plays to San Francisco's eight midway through the second quarter and the Texans managed 15 first downs to the 49ers' one. The overall first downs: Texans 28, 49ers 6. Total yards: Houston 417, San Francisco 105."To me, they're one of the best offenses in the NFL, so it was a good test for today going against a fast offense like that," 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said.Backup QB Colin Kaepernick got his shot for San Francisco. He didn't look much better than Smith.Kaepernick, the team's second-round draft pick out of Nevada, threw the interception to Nolan on his fifth play from scrimmage and third pass attempt after two previous incompletions.Smith returned for a three-and-out and then another series in which he threw an interception in the closing seconds of the first half.Running back Frank Gore, hoping for a new contract before the Sept. 11 opener with defending division champion Seattle, didn't play.Smith was sacked by Connor Barwin on third down on San Francisco's first drive for a 6-yard loss. Barwin ran over left tackle Joe Staley.Antonio Smith sacked Smith on the next Niners drive. So Phillips has to be pleased with how his unit looked Saturday night - and in the preseason as a whole. Houston's passing defense ranked last in the NFL in 2010."Confidence wise, it's certainly important for us to be where we are," Phillips said.The Texans have 13 sacks from nine players and have forced seven turnovers in the first three exhibition games.Donte Whitner's pass-interference penalty late in the first quarter helped set up Derrick Ward's 1-yard TD run that put Houston ahead 10-7. The points were the first given up by San Francisco's No. 1 defense in three preseason games.Neil Rackers kicked field goals of 27 and 47 yards for Houston. Foster had 38 yards on eight rushes."It's a bitter pill to swallow when you're beaten that thoroughly in pretty much all phases," Harbaugh said. "We're not going to have any loser talk or hang our heads. If you're waiting for that, you're not going to get it."

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

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AP

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
 
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
 
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
 
Talent.
 
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
 
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
 
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
 
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
 
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
 
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

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AP

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.