Final

49ers 40

(2-2, 1-1 away)

Texans 13

(2-2, 1-1 home)

8:00 PM ET, August 28, 2014

NRG Stadium, Houston, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
SF 0 14 10 1640
HOU 3 3 7 013

Top Performers

Passing: J. Johnson (SF) - 135 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: G. Winston (SF) - 11 CAR, 55 YDS

Receiving: L. Lewis (SF) - 3 REC, 61 YDS

Borland returns pick for TD, 49ers beat Texans

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Chris Borland made one more big play to convince the 49ers he should be in the mix of linebackers to replace injured NaVorro Bowman.

Borland, a third-round pick from Wisconsin, returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown, third-string quarterback Josh Johnson threw three TD passes and San Francisco beat the Houston Texans 40-13 on Thursday night.

Bowman is expected to miss at least half the season as he recovers from a devastating left knee injury sustained in the NFC championship game loss to the rival Seahawks. Michael Wilhoite is listed as the starter, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said younger players would get a "good, healthy dose of snaps" Thursday night to move up the depth chart.

Borland also had a team-high six tackles.

"I think I had one of my better games, but I still made some mistakes I need to fix," Borland said. "That's kind of been the story this preseason, so I have some things to improve on, but it could help."

Colin Kaepernick did not play for the 49ers. Blaine Gabbert played the first half and went 4 for 11 for 60 yards before Johnson took over.

Coach Jim Harbaugh had said earlier in the week that he planned to play Kaepernick. He decided Wednesday that he would rest Kaepernick and the rest of his starters.

"Some of the starters didn't get to play and that was a decision to keep them from that kind of fun," Harbaugh said. "I feel bad for that, for them, but some of our other guys got a chance to play the best game of their career. That's really exciting for me."

Houston quarterbacks Case Keenum and Tom Savage both threw interceptions as they compete for the backup job behind Ryan Fitzpatrick. Keenum went 8 for 17 for 70 yards and Savage went 8 for 12 for 43 yards.

Keenum got the start and misfired on five of his first seven passes. He got the Texans moving on his third series, completing three passes to DeVier Posey.

Rookie Chris Boswell finished the drive with a 41-yard field goal. Boswell is competing with Randy Bullock for Houston's kicking duties.

Gabbert started 1 for 4 and was sacked by outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus on the second-to-last play of the first quarter. Mercilus, a late first-round pick in 2012 now backing up Jadeveon Clowney, tackled LaMichael James behind the line on the next play.

Savage started the second quarter for Houston and completed his first six throws. His first miss was a third-down toss to Mike Thomas and Bullock kicked a 52-yard field goal for a 6-0 lead.

Gabbert completed a 32-yard pass to Derek Carrier to finally kick-start the 49ers and tossed a 14-yard TD pass to Asante Cleveland with 1:18 left in the half.

Harbaugh said Gabbert hurt his shoulder in the first half and underwent an X-ray.

Keenum returned with 1:12 left in the half and the ball at the Houston 19. He threw behind Posey and Chris Cook intercepted and returned it to the Houston 13. Johnson threw a touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington on the next play.

Phil Dawson kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter. Borland then picked off Savage's next throw, stepping in front of tight end Ryan Griffin and racing to the end zone.

"It's just anticipation," Savage said. "I've just got to get the ball out quicker. I think it was the right read. It was just the ball has got to be out and that's something I can definitely improve on."

Texans rookie Andre Hal intercepted Johnson's pass and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

Johnson threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Nelson and Kassim Osgood blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter.

Nose tackle Ian Williams, center Daniel Kilgore and right guard Joe Looney were the only San Francisco first-teamers to start. Wilhoite and fullback Bruce Miller were the only other regular starters who played. Wilhoite only played on special teams.

Carrier left the game with a hamstring injury.

Game notes


Kaepernick finished the preseason 12 for 22 for 115 yards. ... Texans RG Brandon Brooks was the only first-team offensive player to start. NT Jerrell Powe and defensive end Jared Crick were the first-team starters on defense for the Texans. ... Texans CB Johnathan Joseph and RB Arian Foster missed all four preseason games.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SF
HOU
1st Downs2110
Passing 1st downs
96
Rushing 1st downs
111
1st downs from penalties
13
3rd down efficiency
6-152-11
4th down efficiency
3-30-1
Total Plays6949
Total Yards377155
Yards per play5.53.2
Total Drives1212
Passing186111
Comp-Att
18-2816-29
Yards per pass
6.23.7
Interceptions thrown
12
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-91-2
Rushing19144
Rushing Attempts
3919
Yards per rush
4.92.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)4-50-0
Penalties6-543-30
Turnovers12
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
12
Defensive / Special Teams TDs11
Possession36:1723:43

Passing Leaders

SFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Johnson14/171357.9310-0
Gabbert4/11605.5102-9
HOUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Keenum8/17704.1010-0
Savage8/12433.6011-2

Rushing Leaders

SFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Winston11555.0011
Smith12443.7013
HOUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Grimes8334.1012
Opurum393.006

Receiving Leaders

SFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis36120.3049
Ellington33511.7119
HOURECYDSAVGTDLG
Blue22613.0014
Martin3248.0015

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSFHOU
houFG2:20Chris Boswell 41 Yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 56 yds, 5:27
03
SECOND QUARTERSFHOU
houFG6:46Randy Bullock 52 Yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 33 yds, 2:36
06
sfTD1:18Asante Cleveland 14 Yd pass from Blaine Gabbert (Phil Dawson Kick)
Drive info: 12 plays, 84 yds, 5:28
76
sfTD0:34Bruce Ellington 13 Yd pass from Josh Johnson (Phil Dawson Kick)
Drive info: 1 plays, 13 yds, 0:08
146
THIRD QUARTERSFHOU
sfFG9:04Phil Dawson 28 Yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 69 yds, 5:56
176
sfTD8:45Chris Borland 34 Yd Interception Return (Phil Dawson Kick)
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:19
246
houTD2:19Dre Hal 77 Yd Interception Return (Randy Bullock Kick)
Drive info: 9 plays, 43 yds, 5:03
2413
FOURTH QUARTERSFHOU
sfTD10:14Kyle Nelson 5 Yd pass from Josh Johnson (Phil Dawson Kick)
Drive info: 7 plays, 30 yds, 3:54
3113
sfSF8:52Punt blocked by K. Osgood out of bounds in end zone, Safety
Drive info: 3 plays, 6 yds, 1:22
3313
sfTD6:20Kyle Nelson 2 Yd pass from Josh Johnson (Phil Dawson Kick)
Drive info: 5 plays, 60 yds, 2:32
4013