What Fans Should Expect from Jimmy Garoppolo vs. the Houston Texans

Niners Live last week changed the game with our pre-game article when we dropped: What Fans Should Expect from Jimmy Garoppolo vs. the Chicago Bears and when we dropped the aftermath of his expected performance: Jimmy Garoppolo: Calm, Cool and Collected; with Deadly Accuracy. And now Niners Live features one of our hit articles of the week: What Fans Should Expect from Jimmy Garoppolo vs. the Houston Texans.


Recapping Jimmy G’s performance last week vs. the Bears:

Garoppolo completed 26 of 37 passes for 293 yards, 0 TD’s and 1 interception while posting a final QBR of 66.7 and an 82.4 RTG. Jimmy G’s interception came on a pass intended for Louis Murphy, who was stripped by cornerback Kyle Fuller. Jimmy G was calm, cool and collected while displaying deadly accuracy from inside and outside the pocket. Jimmy G completed 70.3 % of his passes within crucial parts and times of the game, in particular, 3rd down where the 49ers were an astonishing 10-18, the most since 2007.

He’ll see a stiffer challenge this week vs. the Texans: 

Last week Jimmy G wasn’t pressured a lot by the Bears. He was sacked only twice and hit just five times while controlling the clock a season-high 38:47. Although the Texans rank 20th in total defense; 22nd in pass defense; they are 10th at stopping the run (via ESPN.com). Don’t let the stats fool you, the Texans are a hard nose bunch regardless of what their 4-8 record may indicate. They run a 3-4 scheme and are led by defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel; a Bill Belichick disciple. Jimmy G will have a real sack artist breathing down his neck this week by the name of Jadeveon Clowney; all 6′ 5″, 270 lbs. of him.

Clowney has posted an overall (Pro Football Focus) grade of 85.4, pass rush 83.0 and 86.4 at stopping the run. Clowney leads the team with 9 sacks and 5 out of the last 6 games he’s registered at least 1 sack. Right tackle Trent Brown and left tackle Joe Staley will both have their hands full as coach Vrabel likes to move Clowney around. 

What will the Texans try to do against Jimmy G?

Jimmy G should anticipate more pressure coming his way this week as aforementioned the Clowney factor and coach Vrabel/Belichick clone. First order of business he’ll try and take away Jimmy G’s running game that features running back’s Carlos Hyde and Matt Breida like the Bears did. Yes, it’s a copycat league, indeed. The guys that will help lead that charge on stopping the running game are young pro’s; 3rd-year ILB Benardrick McKinney all 6′ 4″, 250 lbs and his 74 tackles (leads the team) and rookie ILB Zach Cunningham all 6′ 3″, 230 lbs, to go with 53 tackles (tied for second on the team). The Texans could have another LB in the mix Brian Cushing who’s coming back from being suspended 10 games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances

How can Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense counter? 

If it’s not broke, don’t try and fix it. Jimmy G needs head coach/offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to create a game plan specifically for the Texans (like he did the Bears) and keep from overwhelming him with his added verbiage and extensive play call sheet. Next thing for Jimmy G is to play your game and be you in terms of; accuracy, good ball placement, mobility and a quick release to offset whatever rush comes your way.

Utilize the short, quick, passing game that features the stand out studs from last week in WR’s; Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor, who had 14 catches combined last week. And add TE’s George Kittle , Garret Celek and FB Kyle Juszczyk in the mix too against a Houston Texans’ secondary that will feature the likes of some veteran defensive backs such as; CB-Johnathan Joseph, FS-Andre Hal, SS-Marcus Gilchrist and CB-Kareem Jackson.

This unit has 7 interceptions combined and a Pro Football Focus overall grade of at least 81, except for Jackson who has 51.4; he’s the weak link in the chain. Jackson should be targeted early and often. But don’t sleep on CB Marcus Williams being in the mix either with a 71.9 overall grade. 

What’s the Houston Texans offensive game plan?

They will try and make the 49ers’ defense play them honest by trying to establish their run game with Lamar Miller all 5′ 10″, 225 lbs of him. However, Miller is only averaging 3.7 yards per rush but does have 711 yards on the season and is a threat to catch the ball out the backfield with 31 catches on the year. But Miller is only the decoy for what they really want to feature and that’s their passing game (off play action) led by Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who we should expect to be moved around between the likes of CB’s Ahkello Witherspoon and Dontae Johnson who had the day off last Sunday. This Sunday, not so much so.

Important to note: The Texans just placed TE C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion) and WR Bruce Ellington former 49er, (hamstring) on injured reserve. And promoted tight end MyCole Pruitt and wide receiver DeAndrew White (also former 49er) to the active roster from the practice squad.

What’s the 49ers defensive game plan?

Expect 49ers’ defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to concentrate on stopping the run first and foremost (see running back Miller above). Paging reigning defensive rookie of the month LB Reuben Foster and in the box safety Eric Reid to help tackle these duties. However, they must keep an eye out for 2nd-year player TE Stephen Anderson, all 6′ 3″, 230 lbs. of him who has 22 catches on the season but was targeted 12 times last week against the Tennessee Titans, catching 5 for 15.8 per catch and a touchdown. 

The Eraser free safety, Adrian Colbert, will be needed for the last line of defense to help contain some of these Texans weapons that could have the services of WR Braxton Miller who’s in the concussion protocol and fellow wide receiver (crack ribs) Will Fuller V are questionable for the game.

However, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said he is hopeful Fuller (ribs) can return for Sunday’s game against the 49ers, Drew Dougherty of the Texans’ official website reports.

Miller likes to work the slot and if he’s a go (to play), nickel back K’Waun Williams will get the first crack at him as he’ll draw this assignment.

Who’s my wildcard player? X Arizona Cardinal RB/WR Andre Ellington who’s a threat coming out the backfield. You may remember him; he had 9 catches for 86 yards at 9.6 yards per catch in an overtime loss to the Cardinals 18-15. If the Texans are without Miller and company, look for Ellington’s number (5 catches for 56 yards last week vs the Titans) to be called as a security blanket for quarterback Tom Savage out of the backfield even more.

The 49ers’ defensive front and pass-rushers consisting of; Elvis DumervilSolomon ThomasSheldon DayCassius MarshDeForest BucknerLeger Douzable and Earl Mitchell, to name a few, will be needed to control the line of scrimmage and apply pressure with extreme disruptive violence on Mr. Savage in order for the 49ers to win this game. 

What to Expect from Jimmy G against the Texans:

Expect Jimmy G to be wearing a wristband again this week with a scaled-down version of the offense. Shanahan will not want to overwhelm him with the entire playbook. Look for his quick release/decisive throws (featuring short passing game and blitz beaters) and his ability to place the ball where only his receiver can get it. His poise, and calm, cool and collected demeanor I fully expect to see yet again on display. We could see some play action (going deep to Goodwin), finally taking place if the 49ers can establish the run this week.  

This is a winnable game on the road at NRG Stadium if the 49ers take care of business and stick to my script/game plan. But they’ll have to score some more points to do it, especially in the red zone, and come away with touchdowns and not field goals. 

Things to know:  The Texans front 7 is a young group made up of rookies and 2nd and 3rd year players. You would think the 49ers could use that to their advantage…( play-action). 

How hot is this Niners Live game? Like Texas Heat… It’s the hottest…No pun intended, of course…Texans are averaging 24.7 points per game and the 49ers 16.8. Are your eyes wide open???

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football Focus49ers.comESPN.comNFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, EditorSequoia Sims .