San Francisco 49ers

Garoppolo leads 49ers to 26-16 win over Texans

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Garoppolo leads 49ers to 26-16 win over Texans

HOUSTON -- After years of struggles at the position, the San Francisco 49ers may have finally found their quarterback of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo.

But even after leading the team to its second straight win, 26-16, over the Houston Texans on Sunday, the former backup to Tom Brady wasn't convinced the job is his to keep.

"We'll see what happens this week. That's on (coach) Kyle (Shanahan)," he said when asked about starting next week. "I don't know."

It's pretty safe to say that Garoppolo will be under center for the rest of the season after throwing for a career-high 334 yards and a touchdown as the 49ers (3-10) won their second straight game.

Garoppolo was 20 of 33 in his second start for a team that hasn't had consistent play at quarterback since Colin Kaepernick's great 2013 season. Acquired before the trade deadline from New England, Garoppolo threw for 293 yards in his debut with the team last week to help the 49ers to a 15-14 win at Chicago.

"You've got to have guys who are fearless, can hang in there and keep their eyes down the field. He does that very, very well," Shanahan said. "But he also has the foot quickness and agility to get out of there and extend some plays."

The game was tied when he found Garrett Celek on a 6-yard touchdown pass with about two minutes left in the third quarter to make it 23-16. Celek had a big play earlier in that drive on a 61-yard reception on third down.

"We knew it was kind of feast or famine against this defense because they're very physical," Shanahan said. "But sometimes, you get your opportunities, and we were fortunate enough to come down with them."

DeAndre Hopkins had 149 yards receiving and two touchdowns, but lost a fumble in the fourth quarter with the Texans down by 7 . San Francisco added 41-yard field goal after that to secure the victory.

T.J. Yates threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns after Tom Savage left with a concussion in the second quarter. Texans (4-9) lost their third straight and sixth in seven games.

Savage was injured when he was driven to the ground on a hit by Elvis Dumervil with about nine minutes left in the second. Replays showed Savage looking dazed after his head hit the ground with both of his arms lifted upward shaking.

He was taken to the medical tent, where he stayed for less than three minutes before returning to the bench and going back in for the next series. He threw two incompletions on that drive, and Houston's team doctor approached him after he returned to the sideline after that possession.

Savage tried repeatedly to enter the game on the next series. But a team official kept grabbing Savage's jersey and finally his arm and pulled him away from the field. He then could be seen arguing with that person and the team's trainer before being escorted to the locker room.

Coach Bill O'Brien said he was evaluated for a concussion after the hit and cleared to return, but that he was evaluated again after he returned because "because of what they saw," without providing details of what that was.

"They try to make the best decision for the player," O'Brien said. "Whatever they see and the testing that they do they try to make the best decision with the player and they weren't satisfied with the results of the second test so they decided to pull him, and that's when he went into the locker room."

Yates, who hadn't appeared in a game since Nov. 16, 2015, was signed last month after Deshaun Watson went out with a knee injury. Houston went up 16-13 when Hopkins grabbed a 29-yard touchdown reception on the Texans' first drive of the second half.

The 49ers took a 10-3 lead when Carlos Hyde ran 2 yards for a touchdown with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

Yates connected with Hopkins for a 7-yard touchdown on Houston's next drive, but the kick failed to leave Houston down 10-9.

Robbie Gould added a 35-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to leave San Francisco up 13-9.

INJURIES

Houston offensive tackle Kendall Lamm sustained a concussion in the first quarter. The Texans have had six players sustain concussions in the last two games combined. ... 49ers rookie receiver Victor Bolden injured his ankle in the second quarter and didn't return. ... San Francisco cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon injured his knee in the fourth quarter.

MEMORIES

Sunday was Shanahan's first visit to NRG Stadium since losing to the Patriots in the Super Bowl when he was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons. He said he didn't think about that game, where the Falcons blew a 25-point lead, until he got to the stadium on Sunday.

"We got off the bus and were walking across the field, and that's when I remembered," he said. "I got some feelings of that. I had some real good feelings in that game, but not toward the end. The feelings today were definitely much better at the end."

UP NEXT

49ers: Host the Titans next Sunday.

Texans: Visit Jaguars next Sunday.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Garoppolo wins first game as 49er starter, 15-14 over Bears

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Garoppolo wins first game as 49er starter, 15-14 over Bears

CHICAGO -- Robbie Gould pumped his right arm. He screamed at the Chicago sideline. Kicking the winning field goal sure made it a sweet return to Soldier Field.

Gould nailed a 24-yarder in the closing seconds, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 293 yards in his first San Francisco start, and the 49ers beat the Chicago Bears 15-14 on Sunday.

Gould made all five field goals - none longer than 35 yards - in his first appearance at Soldier Field since Chicago cut him prior to the 2016 opener. The Bears' all-time leader in points and field goals made, he let it all out after he booted the winner right down the middle.

"I wanted this one really bad," Gould said. "I downplayed it all week for my own peace of mind, to be honest with you. I'm just happy it went this way."

Garoppolo was solid in his first start since the 49ers (2-10) acquired him from New England before the trade deadline in October. The suburban Chicago and Eastern Illinois product completed 26 of 37 passes with an interception. And the 49ers picked up the win after losing their first five road games.

Garoppolo grew up a Bears fan but never attended an NFL game until he entered the league, so this was quite an experience.

"I tried to say all week that it was just a normal game, but obviously, I'd never come back to Chicago like this," Garoppolo said. "It's exciting. I had a ton of people here. It was one of the more fun games I'd been a part of."

Marquise Goodwin had eight catches for 99 yards. Trent Taylor added 92 yards receiving, including a 33-yarder that kept the winning drive going even though he was sick to his stomach.

Chicago (3-9) dropped its fifth straight, and coach John Fox fell to 12-32 in three seasons with the Bears.

"It was hard to even talk to the team after this loss," he said.

Then again, what is there to say? The Bears are wrapping up their fifth straight season without a winning record and will finish below .500 for the fourth year in a row. They went from getting pounded by a championship contender at Philadelphia to losing to one of the league's worst teams.

Mitchell Trubisky was 12 of 15 for 102 yards and a touchdown. Not exactly the bounce-back performance he wanted coming off a rough outing against the Eagles.

"I mean, there's two ways to handle it: positively and negatively," Trubisky said. "You put your head down and come up here and sound like a loser. Or you can just believe in what you know, go back to work and just know the guys in the locker room have your back and have their back, and have the faith that it's going to turn around.

Tarik Cohen returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown. That made him the first NFL rookie with rushing, receiving, passing and punt return TDs in a season since Gale Sayers in 1965.

Garoppolo showed his poise on the winning drive, lSan Francisco from its 8 to the Chicago 6.

His 33-yard pass to Taylor on third down put the ball on the Bears 18 with two minutes left and helped set up Gould's big kick.

"(Garoppolo) never seems too high, never seems too low, which is what in a quarterback," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He kept that throughout the game. ... The guy never changed, which is what you want to see. It allows you to overcome mistakes."

MISSED CHANCES

The 49ers dominated in total yards (388-147) and time of possession (38:47-21:13). But they committed eight penalties, several near the end zone. That helped explain why they failed to score touchdowns on five trips inside the 20.

FAMILY LESSONS

In another twist to the homecoming story, Gould said his father-in-law taught Garoppolo in high school.

INJURIES

49ers: Starting RT Trent Brown (shoulder) started after being listed as questionable. S Adrian Colbert also started after missing last week's 24-13 loss to Seattle following thumb surgery.

Bears: LB Pernell McPhee suffered a shoulder injury on the game's opening drive. ... DE Mitch Unrein (knee) was hurt in the second quarter. ... RG Kyle Long (shoul out the second half. ... K Cairo Santos tweaked his groin. ... LG Josh Sitton started after being listed as questionable because of a concussion. ... S Adrian Amos (hamstring) and his backup Deon Buswere inactive.

UP NEXT

49ers: Visit Houston on Dec. 10.

Bears: Visit Cincinnati on Dec. 10.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Tom Brady feels for Eli Manning, happy for Jimmy Garoppolo

Tom Brady feels for Eli Manning, happy for Jimmy Garoppolo

FOXBORO — The revolving door of big-name quarterbacks is starting to move this week, as Jimmy Garoppolo will make his first start with the 49ers while Eli Manning will be benched by the Giants after 210 straight starts. 

Tom Brady’s name is often uttered in the same sentence as both players. Garoppolo might have been the heir apparent to Brady had it appeared Brady’s career was near its end. Manning, of course, is the only quarterback to beat Brady in a Super Bowl. 

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Brady spoke about both players Friday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, starting with his former teammate. 

“It’s a great opportunity for Jimmy,” Brady said. “We’ve kept in touch and I always wish him the best of luck. I think he’ll do a great job. The Niners are lucky to have him.”

Garoppolo’s third career start and first since Week 2 of last season will come against the Bears. Last week, he got into the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks late and completed both of his passes, one of which went for a touchdown. 

Manning, meanwhile, was rather unceremoniously benched this week by the 2-9 Giants in favor of former Jets quarterback Geno Smith. The move has been highly criticized by players throughout the league, with Philip Rivers calling the move “pathetic.” 

As one might expect, Brady was more reserved. 

“It’s just unfortunate,” Brady said. “The NFL’s a tough league and you just have to do your best as a player, keep doing the best you can do whether it’s for the team you’re on or another team [after]. If you love playing and can keep doing it at a high level, [you can] still play.”