another rough day

Our 10 observations from the Texans loss to the 49ers: Why is Vrabel getting a pass?

Our 10 observations from Texans loss to 49ers

houston texans defensive coordinator mike vrabel
Do the Texans have a defensive problem — or a defensive coordinator problem — in Mike Vrabel? Getty Images

The Texans lost to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday 26-16. They were pretty much dominated from the start. Here are 10 observations on the game:

1. Why is Mike Vrabel getting no heat? The Texans defense rarely gets sacks or turnovers. They have given up an NFL-most 14 plays of over 40 yards or more. They are often out of position. That’s on the defensive coordinator. We keep getting told this guy is a good coach. But the results say otherwise. Yes, there have been injuries. Romeo Crennel dealt with that last year and the results were much better.

2. T.J. Yates looked much better than Tom Savage. Is this another case where Bill O’Brien’s  stubborn insistence that a guy can play cost his team? He has mismanaged his quarterbacks every year. It likely won’t matter next season if DeShaun Watson stays healthy, but…

3. Kevin Johnson has seriously regressed. From penalties to just poor coverage, he looks nothing like the player he was before getting injured last year.

4. Jimmy Garappolo is the real deal. The Texans could have drafted him instead of Xavier Su'a Filo. They have a promising quarterback now, but this guy looks legit. And San Fran gave up a lot less to get him.

5. DeAndre Hopkins is playing out of his mind. It’s a shame his terrific season is being wasted. He had 11 catches for 151 yards and two TDs, giving him 11 for the season, something the great Andre Johnson never did. He did fumble in the fourth quarter, which proved crucial. If there is any flaw in his game, it is ball protection. It rarely hurts them, but it bit them hard on Sunday.

6. As much as I praised Bill O’Brien’s playcalling last week, this week was predictable again. Running the ball on first down every single time? I get that you need to run the football, but it clearly was not working.

7. Jadeveon Clowney once again was a disruptive force. His stats look pedestrian, but he was all over the field.

8. Stephen Anderson, a week after his best game as a pro, was terrible against the 49ers, with two drops and a bad holding call.

9. Brian Cushing returned and looked good. You just wonder how much juice was flowing through his veins.

10. I know injuries have been a factor, but the Texans continue to have some of the worst special teams play in football. Ka’imi Fairbarn missed his third extra point of the season and yet another field goal. A guy off the practice squad muffed another punt. Coverage was lacking as well. This has been a problem since the franchise was founded. DeAndrew White does not belong in the NFL. Why is Will Fuller not returning punts?

Fred Faour is editor of SportsMap, and hosts "The Blitz" weekdays at 4 pm on  on ESPN 97.5.