HOUSTON – Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers’ offense did not immediately continue the ride of momentum from his first week as a starter.
But after a rough start with an interception and just four first downs in the first four offensive possessions Sunday against the Houston Texans, things started to look as the 49ers had envisioned under the new quarterback.
Garoppolo threw for a career-high 334 yards and the 49ers rallied for a 26-16 victory over the Houston Texans for the team’s second win in Garoppolo’s two starts with the club.
Coming off a 15-14 win over the Chicago Bears, the 49ers have won back-to-back games for the first time since the middle of the 2014 season
Garoppolo, who arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots, has the most yards passing for any 49ers quarterback making his first two starts since the NFL merger in 1970. Garoppolo had 293 yards a week earlier in Chicago. Garoppolo completed 20 of 33 passes for 334 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Texans. His passer rating was 92.2.
Garoppolo teamed up with tight end Garrett Celek late in the third quarter to break a 16-16 tie. Celek, who had a 61-yard catch on the drive, caught a 6-yard scoring pass from Garoppolo to enable the 49ers to take a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter.
But the offense got going just before the end of the first half. Fulback Kyle Juszczyk caught passes of 29 and 31 yards to set up the 49ers for the first touchdown in six quarters of Garoppolo as a starter.
Running back Carlos Hyde, who earlier let a sure touchdown pass from Garoppolo slip through his hands, bounced outside for a 2-yard touchdown run to give the 49ers a 10-3 lead.
The 49ers put together a quick drive at the end of the first half to head to the locker room with a 13-9 lead. Hyde had a 27-yard run. Garoppolo connected with Aldrick Robinson for 18 yards to set up Robbie Gould for a 35-yard field goal.
Gould hit a 52-yard field goal earlier in the game to tie the score. Houston opened the scoring on Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 55-yard field goal.
Marquise Goodwin continued to be a featured target in the passing game with Garoppolo. Goodwin caught six passes for 106 yards.
The defense iced the game late with Adrian Colbert forcing DeAndre Hopkins to fumble late in the fourth quarter. Aaron Lynch made the recovery. The takeaway set up Gould for his fourth field goal of the game, a 41-yarder with 3:50 remaining in the game.
Cornerback Dontae Johnson, who started the first 13 games of the season, was benched in the third after and after struggling mightily in coverage against Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins caught 10 passes for 144 yards with two touchdowns while Johnson was in the game. Johnson was called three penalties, two of which were declined after completions to Hopkins.
Before he was removed from the lineup, Johnson had a game-high seven tackles, but six of his stops were recorded after receptions he allowed while in coverage. Greg Mabin took over at right cornerback with 8:12 left in the third quarter.
Johnson was taken out of the 49ers’ lineup following Hopkins’ 29-yard touchdown reception from T.J. Yates. Johnson was observed spiking his helmet on the sideline after getting beaten for the touchdown.
Johnson re-entered after Ahkello Witherspoon sustained a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
Texans quarterback Tom Savage appeared to be knocked woozy as Elvis Dumervil delivered a hit as he was throwing incomplete on a third-down play in the second quarter.
Backup T.J. Yates replaced Savage, who completed 6 of 12 pass attempts for 63 yards in the first two quarters. Savage was later ruled out for the game with a concussion.
Yates completed 11 of 19 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns in his relief appearance.
THIS ‘N’ THAT
--Linebacker Reuben Foster was shaken up after Texans running back Lamar Miller drilled him on a blitz pickup in the second quarter on a third-down play. Foster remained down for a minute before jogging off the field. It appeared the wind was knocked out of him. He was back on the next series and did not miss a snap.
--Former Texans defensive lineman Earl Mitchell made an impact early in the game when he stopped Miller for a 2-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 play from the 49ers’ 40-yard line.
--Right tackle Trent Brown was declared inactive for the game after going through limited practice last week with a shoulder condition. Veteran guard Zane Beadles started at right tackle.
--The 49ers activated defensive linemen Aaron Lynch and Tank Carradine and deactivated Ronald Blair, Leger Douzable and D.J. Jones.
--The 49ers have gone 10 games without scoring a touchdown in the first quarter.