Here are my preseason Week 2 grades for the 49ers’ offense.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B+. They opened up big holes in the running game and played pretty well overall, but it’s important to note they didn’t have to face two of the Texans’ starting defensive linemen – Shaun Cody and J.J Watt.
Alex Smith got sacked twice and took five big hits in the first quarter, but the offensive line wasn’t at fault. Smith actually ran into most of those hits. The offensive line’s worst moment came when Mike Iupati whiffed on Antonio Smith, who clocked Alex Smith and got flagged for roughing the passer.
RUNNING BACKS: A-. First – the injuries. Brandon Jacobs hurt his left knee and he’s going to miss some time, but not the whole season according to Jim Harbaugh, so that’s good news. LaMichael James appeared to injure his left ankle late in the game. The trainers carted him off the field, but he tweeted later that night he will be at practice on Monday, so that injury probably isn’t serious.
Kendall Hunter looked terrific. He gained 46 yards on 6 carries, including a 17-yard gain on third and four. He may be the 49ers’ best running back. Frank Gore carried the ball twice – once for a 14-yard gain, and once for a 2-yard loss. It will be interesting to see who gets more touches this season – Gore or Hunter.
WIDE RECEIVERS: B-. The starters – Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham – didn’t do much. Crabtree caught one 4-yard pass. Manningham stopped running as Alex Smith threw him the ball and the Texans almost picked it off.
Randy Moss caught three passes for 24 yards, but he should have caught five catches for about 80 yards. On one play he was wide open deep down the middle of the field but Alex Smith didn’t see him. On another play, Moss dropped a perfect deep pass along the sideline from Colin Kaepernick. Moss let it bounce right off his hands.
A.J. Jenkins burned the Texans’ third-string cornerbacks and made a nice over-the-shoulder catch.
TIGHT ENDS: C. Vernon Davis dropped the only pass thrown to him. Konrad Reuland caught a 15-yard pass, but he also got penalized for offensive pass interference earlier in the game.