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Texans QB Brock Osweiler underwhelming in preseason opener vs. 49ers

All eyes were on quarterback Brock Osweiler at the start of Sunday’s preseason opener, but the starter got just a brief look against the San Francisco 49ers.

Osweiler played into the second quarter of the Houston Texans24-13 victory, getting three series to work with his starting receivers and show his comfort with Bill O’Brien’s playbook.

"I think there were some pros and there were some cons," Osweiler said. "Obviously you want to come out and you want to be perfect as a team and as an offensive unit, and we weren’t today. But that’s OK. It gives us something to go back to Houston with. There were plenty of plays that we can all learn from and I think it will motivate us to come out and be better in the second preseason game."

Running back Lamar Miller had a few good runs, including a 14-yard pickup on the Texans’ first offensive play of the game. Miller finished with 30 yards on four carries.

QB depth chart: Osweiler was underwhelming in his first game for the Texans, finishing 4-of-7 for 27 yards. He didn’t have a touchdown or a turnover and was sacked once. Osweiler’s best play of the game was a 12-yard pass to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. Tom Savage replaced Osweiler and got an extended look at the helm of the offense. He had a few nice plays, including a 24-yard pass to the right of the field to third-round pick Braxton Miller in the third quarter and back-to-back long passes to running back Kenny Hilliard and receiver Jaelen Strong later in the quarter. Savage ended the game 14-of-24 for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Weeden entered the game with 5 minutes, 19 seconds remaining and did not complete a pass.

Maybe that player could start: Christian Covington is competing to start at defensive end, a spot available after Jared Crick left for Denver during the offseason. Early in the first quarter, Covington contributed with a tackle for a loss and forced fumble that outside linebacker John Simon returned for a touchdown. He is competing with Devon Still, Brandon Dunn and Jeoffrey Pagan for playing time.

Who got hurt? Coming into the game, the Texans were without many players, including defensive end J.J. Watt (back), outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (knee), center Nick Martin (back), cornerback A.J. Bouye (groin) and right tackle Derek Newton (hamstring). The Texans did not announce any more injuries during the game.

A surprise player who impressed: In addition to his fumble recovery and touchdown, Simon had three tackles, including one for a loss.

When it was starters vs. starters, the Texans looked ... like a team playing in its first preseason game. Osweiler and the first-team offense didn’t ever find a rhythm or have extended drives. However, though Osweiler left the game after three series, the receivers stayed in and had some nice catches. On defense, there were quite a few missed tackles, something O’Brien won’t be pleased with when he looks at the tape.

One reason to be concerned: The offensive line didn’t give Osweiler much time to throw. On the Texans’ second offensive series, tackle Kendall Lamm was beaten by 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks with a spin move to sack Osweiler. However, the line is missing right tackle Newton (hamstring), left tackle Duane Brown (quadriceps) and Martin (back), so getting those players back should help. The offensive line gave up three sacks.

Kicking battle still ongoing: O’Brien didn’t get many opportunities to see kickers Nick Novak and rookie Ka’imi Fairbain work. Novak converted the PAT on two of the Texans’ touchdowns, and Fairbairn hit a 45-yard field goal midway through the third quarter and the PAT after the third touchdown.

Shane Lechler gets better with age: Lechler had a booming 75-yard punt near the end of the first half to pin the 49ers at their own 20. The 40-year-old averaged 47.3 yards per punt last season, which ranked fifth in the NFL.