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49ers-Texans: What we learned

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- The nightmare continued Sunday night for Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, and the San Francisco 49ers took full advantage.

Cornerback Tramaine Brock intercepted two Schaub passes and returned one for a touchdown, and the 49ers routed the Texans 34-3 at Candlestick Park.

The Texans lost their third consecutive game and fell to 2-3, their first losing record since 2010. Schaub became the first quarterback since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to have an interception returned for a touchdown four games in a row.

Schaub completed 19 of 35 passes for a season-low 173 yards with three interceptions and a passer rating of 32.2. Schaub has nine interceptions for the season.

"We saw some things on film where he saw pressure and he would throw it off his back foot, look to his hot routes," 49ers safety Donte Whitner said of Schaub. "The one that Tramain got to run it back, was pretty much he thought he saw pressure. We were in a coverage and he jumped the route."

Backup quarterback T.J. Yates replaced Schaub with 14:11 left in the game and the Texans trailing 31-3. Yates completed three of five passes for 15 yards.

After the game, Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Schaub was still his starting quarterback.

"Hopefully that's rock bottom tonight," Kubiak said. "I'm trying to help my quarterback work through a very difficult time right now. I'm trying to help a guy I believe a great deal in."

Schaub said he appreciated Kubiak's support.

"A lot of confidence coming from the head coach," Schaub said. "We've been through a lot together and we're going to continue to go through a lot together. I'll fight tooth and nail for him and anyone in this locker room. We've shed a bunch of blood, sweat and tears and we're going to keep fighting. It's a long season. By no means is anything all said and done. We're going to keep fighting and come together."

The 49ers won their second consecutive game after dropping two straight and improved to 3-2, a game behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West standings.

"I think this team is getting its confidence back," 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said.

Brock picked off two passes in the first half, and 301-pound defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie, dropping into coverage, intercepted a Schaub pass late in the third quarter.

Schaub wasted no time making pick-six history. Brock intercepted his first pass and returned 18 yards for a touchdown, giving the 49ers a 7-0 lead 90 seconds into the game.

Brock's second interception and 13-yard return to the Houston 32 set up San Francisco's third touchdown of the first half.

Frank Gore ran 17 times for 81 yards and a touchdown for the 49ers, Kaepernick was just 6-for-15 for a season-low 113 yards and one touchdown, a 64-yard pass to tight end Vernon Davis. Kaepernick gave way to backup Colt McCoy with 6:01 left to play and the 49ers fully in command.

Texans running back Arian Foster carried the ball 21 times for 98 yards.

What the 49ers said

"I played my techniques and just read the quarterback and read the receiver. It wasn't about Matt Schaub, because he's a great quarterback. Can't really go off his last game. It wasn't about his last game. It was about me playing the defense." -- Nickel cornerback Tramaine Brock, who made two interceptions Sunday and returned one for a touchdown.

What the Texans said

"Obviously it's tough right now. After what we've been through tonight, going back to last weekend and even the week before, I am very confident in my ability and everyone in this locker room. We just need to go and play better." -- Quarterback Matt Schaub, after throwing three interceptions and having one returned for a touchdown for the fourth consecutive game.

What we learned about the 49ers

1. The 49ers don't need a huge game from quarterback Colin Kaepernick to win big. Kaepernick completed only six of 15 passes for 113 yards and one touchdown, but the 49ers crushed Houston 34-3 thanks largely to their defense and running attack. The 49ers intercepted three Matt Schaub passes and forced four turnovers. They ran for 177 yards. Frank Gore led the way with 81 yards on 17 carries.

2. Nnamdi Asomugha could have a tough time reclaiming his job as the team's No. 3 cornerback when he recovers from a knee injury that sidelined him the past two games. Fourth-year pro Tramaine Brock filled in again Sunday night for Asomugha and intercepted two passes, returning one 18 yards for a touchdown 90 seconds into the game. His second interception set up the 49ers' third touchdown of the game, giving San Francisco a 21-0 lead late in the first half.

What we learned about the about the Texans

1. If quarterback Matt Schaub endures one more nightmare game, coach Gary Kubiak must bench him for at least a week or risk having the season implode. Schaub became the first quarterback since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to have an interception returned for a touchdown in four straight games. He was intercepted three times by the 49ers, including once by 301-pound defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie. Schaub looks as if he forgot how to read defenses. Although Kubiak said Schaub is still his starter and the veteran quarterback said he remains confident, the Texans can't survive much longer with Schaub throwing so many interceptions.

2. Running back Arian Foster is back on track, and the Texans need to give him carry a bigger workload. One week after rushing for 102 yards against Seattle, he ran for 98 against the 49ers -- two solid games against two of the NFL's top defenses. The more carries Foster gets, the less pressure there would be on Schaub. That would be a good thing.
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