The San Francisco 49ers kicked off the 2016 preseason at home with a 24-13 defeat at the hands of the Huston Texans.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert made the start for the 49ers over the still recovering Colin Kaepernick and mostly disappointed during his three drives of action. He showed flashes of athleticism on read option and broken plays, but struggled mightily with his accuracy. He misfired on a handful of throws that you expect a starting quarter back to make, missing Carlos Hyde twice on check downs and a wide open Quinton Patton on a quick slant.
The starting job was seemingly Gabbert’s to lose going into yesterday’s game, but his inconsistent accuracy may have breathed new life into Kaep’s chances at starting again. Journey man Thad Lewis and rookie Jeff Driskel both saw significant time at QB, but both failed to impress. Gabbert ended the afternoon with an uninspiring stat line 4-10 for 63 and a score.
Outside of an early fumble that lead to a Texans scoop and score, Carlos Hyde looked at home in new head coach Chip Kelly’s offense. His power and speed were on full display during an impressive 22 yard first quarter rush. The stress fracture he suffered in his foot that sidelined him for over half the year last season appears to fully healed. Chip Kelly loves to rush the ball in his up tempo offense so a healthy Hyde could be in store for a break out year.
The first and second team offensive lines played fairly well as they both provided clean passing pockets and big rushing holes. This unit already looks better than last years 27 ranked line thanks to the return of right tackle Anthony Davis who spent the entire 2015 season enjoying his one year retirement. Davis played well in his first game action in over a year, and while he didn’t play with the first team offense, I fully expect him to be starting come week one.
The 49ers defense spoiled Brock Oswelier’s first game as a Texan by playing surprisingly well. Corner back Tramaine Brock had a nice pass break up on all-pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins and man coverage was tight almost all afternoon. The defense swarmed to the ball and only allowed the Texans to convert 4/14 third downs while collecting three sacks. One of those sacks belonged to reserve linebacker Nick Bellore who seemed to be in on every play. Rookie first round pick DeForest Buckner made his NFL debut and even though he saw plenty of snaps, didn’t really make any splash plays.
After one preseason game the 49ers look about where most expected them to be. There is just as much if not more uncertainty surrounding the quarter back position and the running game looks like it’ll be somewhat productive. The only real surprise being the play of the defense. This is after all only the preseason and everything that’s done or said needs to be taken with a grain of salt, however after one game the 9ers haven’t done much to silence those who think they are going to be stuck in the NFC West cellar all of 2016.