<
>

Observation Deck: Houston Texans

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans took their backup quarterback competition into this final preseason game, and it wasn't either quarterback's best day.

Neither Case Keenum nor Tom Savage distinguished himself. By the end of the third quarter, they had passer ratings of 33.9 and 31.9. Both threw interceptions, though Savage's was returned for a touchdown. Keenum's could have been. After what looked like a miscommunication between Keenum and receiver DeVier Posey, the 49ers scored on the next play.

Houston lost to San Francisco 40-13.

Here are some other thoughts from the Texans' final preseason game:

  • Safeties Shiloh Keo and Eddie Pleasant needed strong performances Thursday, and Keo's was better than Pleasant's, especially during their defensive snaps. On one play, Pleasant was in position to stop a touchdown but couldn't quite make the tackle. Keo also played well on special teams, which will be important to the Texans' decision on who remains on their roster.

  • Rookie cornerback Andre Hal made his second interception return for a touchdown of the preseason. Both of his came at home. On this one, Hal plucked the ball out of the air as it bounced off the receiver's hands. As is often the case with young defensive backs, though, there was good and bad mixed in for Hal. He was beat deep in the fourth quarter on a pass that got the 49ers to the Texans' 11-yard line. The drive ended in a touchdown.

  • Undrafted rookie Chris Boswell took on some kicking duties and all of the punting duties. He did fine kicking but had a punt blocked for a safety. Boswell had already lost the kicking competition to Randy Bullock (who made a 52-yarder Thursday), and he wasn't going to beat out Shane Lechler as the punter. A good performance Thursday might have given him a chance elsewhere.

  • Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus made back-to-back tackles for loss during the first half. He followed a sack of Blaine Gabbert by tackling LaMichael James in the backfield. Mercilus started for the second consecutive game. He started last Saturday in Denver when outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney was out with an injury suffered after a helmet-to-helmet hit in a practice with the Broncos. This time, the Texans kept most of their starters out.

  • Interesting positional note on the offensive line: Xavier Su'a-Filo started at left tackle in place of Duane Brown. Su'a-Filo played as much guard as tackle in college, but was better as a guard. He was mostly a guard in games this preseason.

  • Running back Arian Foster missed the Texans' entire slate of exhibition games for the second straight season. Last year he dealt with a variety of soft tissue injuries, starting with the Texans' organized team activities. This season it's been a hamstring injury. Foster has looked like his old self during practices, but has been limited there, too. If he stays healthy, he'll be a big part of the Texans' offense, and they didn't see any reason to risk that Thursday.