From the press box - 2:52 p.m.San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis just caught his third touchdown pass of the game, a 23-yarder over the middle from Smith with 3:43 remaining. The 49ers now trail by three, 24-21.
It was a seven-play, 73-yard scoring drive that took just 3:33. Smith has been on fire since coming in at the start of the second half: He's 13-of-16 (81 percent) for 174 yards and three touchdowns.
I've got to run down to the field to prepare for postgame coverage, so this concludes my in-game blog. Thanks for stopping by. You can follow the rest of the game in our main story on HoustonTexans.com.
From the press box - 2:47 p.m.Injury update: Johnson injured his chest. His return for the rest of the game is questionable, though he already went back in on the lst drive.
From the press box - 2:46 p.m.
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From the press box - 2:41 p.m.Kicker Kris Brown extended the Texans' lead by three points with a 50-yard field goal, his longest of the season. It's 24-14 with 7:16 left to play.
The Texans had some scary moments on their drive. Johnson went down with an apparent injury, but he came back on the field a couple of plays later. Schaub was blinsided and sacked for a nine-yard loss on second-and-10 from the the from 11-yard line. Left tackle Duane Brown was called for unnecessary roughness at the 17-yard line after the Texans' third-down play, pushing them back to the 32 on fourth down.
But Brown calmly nailed the field goal, and he now has 700 points as a Texan.
From the press box - 2:35 p.m.Johnson is back in the game. The Texans have a first down at the 49ers' 11-yard line after another nice pickup by Daniels. He has seven catches for 123 yards today.
From the press box - 2:33 p.m.On the first play of the Texans' drive, Schaub hit Andre Johnson deep for a 44-yard gain. Johnson made a twisting, leaping catch between two defenders on the play, which put him over the 7,000-yard receiving mark in his career.
Scary sight two plays later, though, when Johnson went down on the field after an incomplete pass intended for David Anderson. He was walking toward the sideline and stopped before kneeling on the ground and was tended to by trainers for a couple of minutes. Johnson eventually got up and walked to the sideline. I'll try to figure out what happened to him.
After the game, tune into Texans TV on HoustonTexans.com to watch live press conferences with Texans coach Gary Kubiak and Texans players from Reliant Stadium.
From the press box - 2:26 p.m.We've got a ballgame. Smith to Davis for 14 yards and a touchdown, which makes it 21-14 with 12:43 left in the game.
Smith is 8-of-9 for 96 yards and two touchdowns (150.7 rating) since taking over for Hill to start the second half.
The 49ers converted on third-and-seven on the previous play with a 17-yard pass from Smith to receiver Josh Morgan. Just before that, Smith fumbled a snap and the Texans recovered, but the officials blew the play dead by ruling that the 49ers had called a timeout before the snap.
The 49ers' 10-play, 66-yard scoring drive took 5:41 off the clock.
From the press box - 2:17 p.m.Defensive end Tim Bulman went down on the field with an injury with one minute and change left in the third quarter. He got up and trotted off the field; I'll pass along his injury status as soon as I receive word.
From the press box - 2:13 p.m.As the 49ers are driving down the field (they just got a first down in Texans territory), here's a disconcerting note: Slaton has lost four fumbles this season. He had three fumbles and lost two all of last season as a rookie.
From the press box - 2:10 p.m.Uh oh. Slaton lost a fumble at the San Francisco 34-yard line. Safety Dashon Goldson recovered to end the Texans' drive after Housotn had first-and-10 at the 49ers 36. Fumbling has been a concern for Slaton all season, and he almost lost one at the end of the first half (on the play that was overturned).
Today's paid attendance was just announced at 70,820.
From the press box - 1:52 p.m.The Texans' defense got its act together on its second outing of the third quarter, forcing a three-and-out for the fourth time today.The 49ers had third-and-six from their own 16 when the crowd helped to induce a delay of game on the 49ers. Smith was lined up in the shotgun, and it appeared center Eric Heitmann couldn't hear him to snap the ball.
On third-and-11, Smith threw to Davis for a four-yard gain. Ryans made the stop, and Okoye applied QB pressure on the play.
Jacoby Jones returned a 52-yard punt 10 yards. After a holding penalty on the 49ers was tacked on, the Texans started in 49ers territory at the 47-yard line.
From the press box - 2:00 p.m.After the 49ers' touchdown, the Texans picked up one first down and moved from their own 20 to their 43-yard line before having to punt. The big play of the drive was a 12-yard run by Slaton off the left tackle. Schaub's eight-yard pass to David Anderson on third-and-11 wasn't quite enough for the first down.
The 49ers get the ball at their own 12-yard line after a fair catch by Battle. They trail 21-7 with 7:54 to play in the third.
From the press box - 1:52 p.m.The extra point was good, making the score 21-7.
Injury update on Davis: He had the wind knocked out of him. His return is probable.
From the press box - 1:50 p.m.The shutout is no more. Smith hit tight end Vernon Davis for a 29-yard touchdown pass, putting the 49ers on the board four minutes into the second half. Davis took a big hit from cornerback Dunta Robinson just in front of the goal line. He withstood the contact and made it into the end zone, but he was injured on the play. No word yet on the severity.
Smith was 2-of-2 for 46 yards on the five-play, 83-yard scoring drive.
San Franciso offensive lineman Tony Pashos has been declared out for the rest of the game. He was injured in the first half.
From the press box - 1:45 p.m.The 49ers received to start the second half. Alex Smith is in at quarterback for Shaun Hill, who was 6-of-11 for 45 yards in the first half. Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft in 2005 out of Utah.
From the press box - 1:41 p.m.Halftime by the numbers:
21-0: The score, in favor of the Texans
185-50: Total net yards, in favor of the Texans
17:43-12:17: Time of possession, in favor of the Texans
11-3: First downs, in favor of the Texans
18: Rushing yards allowed by the Texans' defense
2.0: Average yards per carry for the 49ers
1: Yards gained by the 49ers in the first quarter
2: Touchdowns for running back Steve Slaton (one rushing, one receiving)
100: Receiving yards for tight end Owen Daniels
133.1: Matt Schaub's passer rating in the first half
From the press box - 1:34 p.m.The Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon is performing on the field. Media types are chattering away as they work in the press box, but you could hear a pin drop in the stadium bowl.
I'll have halftime by the numbers up in a few minutes, but my stomach is telling me it's time to get some food at the press box buffet line first.
From the press box - 1:31 p.m.The Texans go into the locker room at halftime with a 21-0 lead. They had a near-turnover that could've been costly at the end of the first half when Slaton fumbled the ball at the 36-yard line with seven seconds remaining and 49ers cornerback Nate Clements recovered. But the play was reviewed and overturned because Slaton was down by contact; his right knee was down before the ball came loose.
The Texans gave up only 50 yards in the first half. That's the lowest in team history in the first half. They recorded two sacks and allowed only 18 rushing yards. And the Texans have pitched three consecutive second-half shutouts, which is certainly a good sign at this point in the game.
Another 49ers injury note: offensive lineman Tony Pashos has a left shoulder contusion. His return is questionable.
From the press box - 1:22 p.m.
The Texans stopped the 49ers to force a turnover on downs. A couple of USC guys (shameless plug for my alma mater) made the play: defensive tackle Shaun Cody knocked Hill to the ground, and as Hill was falling down, he threw a pass right at linebacker Brian Cushing that Cushing couldn't corral. That gave the Texans the ball back with 1:29 in the half, still up 21-0.
From the press box - 1:19 p.m.
The 49ers are at the Texans' 38-yard line, and it's fourth-and-two. It appears they're about to go for it. They just called a timeout with 1:36 left in the first half.
From the press box - 1:17 p.m.We're at the two-minute warning with the Texans still leading 21-0. The 49ers have the ball at the Texans' 40-yard line facing a second-and-four.
Two plays ago, the 49ers picked up 22 yards on second-and-nine from their own 32-yard line on a defensive pass interference call on Dunta Robinson, who appeared to make an outstanding play in one-on-one coverage on Isaac Bruce.
From the press box - 1:10 p.m.Schaub to wiiiide open Owen Daniels for a 42-yard touchdown, and it's 21-0 Texans with 4:24 left in the first half.
The touchdown play was an example of how effective the Texans' play action pass can be when teams respect their running game. Two plays earlier, Slaton ran for four yards. On the next play, Chris Brown rumbled up the middle for a 13-yard gain.
Then, Schaub faked a handoff to Brown and rolled to his right, and Daniels was wide open streaking left across the middle. Daniels caught it and ran a few yards into the end zone for his fifth touchdown of the season, which already ties his career high.
Schaub also has now tied David Carr's team record for touchdown passes in a season with 16, and we've still got more than two quarters to play in the seventh game of the season.
Daniels has five catches for 100 yards. Schaub is 12-of-18 for 166 yards and two touchdowns with a 133.1 passer rating.
Another injury update from the 49ers: Michael Robinson has a stinger; his return is probable.
From the press box - 1:05 p.m.The 49ers picked up their first first down of the game with 8:25 to play in the second quarter. It was an 18-yard pass from Hill to Michael Crabtree, the rookie's second catch of the game. Crabtree caught a four-yard pass earlier.
That was the only first down that the 49ers got on the drive. The Texans forced an incomplete pass three plays later on third-and-three, leading to a 49ers punt from their own 44-yard line.
From the press box - 1:00 p.m.With his third tackle of the game, linebacker DeMeco Ryans just became the all-time leading tackler in team history with 443 in his career. He moved past Jamie Sharper, who played with the team from 2002-04.
The tackle was on Frank Gore, who picked up five yards on the play after taking a direct snap out of the Wildcat formation.
From the press box - 12:55 p.m.It took the Texans just two plays to find the end zone and take a 14-0 lead. Slaton scored on a nine-yard screen pass as the Texans continue to get him the ball through the passing game.
On the play, Slaton lined up near the tight end and moved in as if to block, then popped outside to get the quick pass from Schaub in the flat. He sped toward the right sideline, evaded a couple of defenders and dove for the pylon. It's the second time this season (and in his career) that he has scored a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game. Slaton has five touchdowns in the last four games.
Just got this note from our PR staff, who I'm seated right next to: The one yard allowed by the Texans' defense in the first quarter is the third-lowest total they've allowed in a quarter in team history.
From the press box - 12:52 p.m.The Texans picked up two first downs and got to their own 46-yard line before being forced to punt, but they got the ball right back when 49ers returner Arnaz Battle muffed Turk's punt muffed Turk's punt at the 10-yard line. Battle was looking up into the sun on the north end of the stadium.
Andre' Davis, who has a knack for being the first Texan to the ball in punt coverage, fell on it at the 10-yard line to give the Texans the ball with 11:24 left int he first half.
Injury note: 49ers linebacker Take Spikes has a strained shoulder. His return is probable.
From the press box - 12:41 p.m.The first quarter has come to a close with the Texans up 7-0. The last play of the quarter was a 49ers punt that Jacoby Jones returned 68 yards for what would've been the third punt return touchdown of his career, but the Texans were hit with two flags on the play and the score came off the board. Tight end Joel Dreessen was called for holding, which the 49ers declined, and cornerback Antwaun Molden was called for an illegal block in the back. That penalty was accepted, and the Texans now will have the ball at their own 22-yard line instead of being up 14-0.
But it's hard to dwell on the negative. The Teaxns just played an outstanding first quarter, particularly on defense. They allowed one yard on three 49ers possessions, all of which were three-and-outs. They came into the game leading the league with 27 three-and-outs on defense.
Defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina got his second sack of the season on the 49ers third drive, giving the Texans two sacks in the first quarter. They had only six sacks all year.
From the press box - 12:33 p.m.
The 49ers started their third drive at the 26-yard line after the Texans' score.
The Texans' scoring drive started at their own 39-yard line. The first play was a 31-yard pass from Schaub to tight end Owen Daniels. Schaub was under pressure and couldn't have thrown a better pass - it hit Daniels in stride and where only Daniels could catch it just as he slid past his defender. Daniels has three catches for 52 yards already, continuing his torrid pace this season.
Late in the drive, the Texans faced third-and-nine from the 49ers' 12-yard line. Schaub threw a quick screen pass to Slaton on the left, and he sprinted 11 yards for a first down to the one-yard line. The Texans have been working the screen pass consistently in the past few weeks, mainly to Slaton and Andre Johnson, and it's worked almost every time.
Slaton punched it in on the play after his screen pass. It was a toss off the right edge, and he followed a nice lead block by fullback Vonta Leach into the end zone. Rookie Antoine Caldwell was in at right guard on the play.
From the press box - 12:31 p.m.Touchdown, Steve Slaton, and the Texans lead 7-0 with 2:27 left in the first quarter. Slaton scored on a one-yard touchown run to cap an eight-play, 61-yard drive. It was Slaton's second rushing touchdown of the season.
I'll post a recap of the drive in a minute.
From the press box - 12:25 p.m.Two 49ers drives, two three-and-outs forced by the Texans defense. They lead the league in three-and-outs forced this season.
The 49ers had second-and-four from the 20, but the defense held. Ryans tackled Gore after a one-yard gain on second down (Ryans is now one tackle away from tying Jamie Sharper as the Texans' all-time leading tackler). Rookie cornerback Glover Quin came up with a drive-ending pass deflection on third down. Quin stepped in front of Hill's pass to Davis and nearly picked it off to force the punt.
From the press box - 12:20 p.m.The Texans' drive ended with a punt from the San Franciso 47-yard line. There was a positive on the drive - the Texans ran for a first down in a short-yardage situation. On second-and-one from the 48, Slaton stopped for no gain. On the next play, he ran six yards off the right tackle for a first down.
But Slaton was stopped for a five-yard loss on the next play. He spun out of a tackle from defensive end Justin Smith in the backfield and eluded four - count 'em, four- defenders as he tried to find positive yardage, but Smith came back and wrapped him up for a five-yard loss.
The next two plays were both incomplete passes. Schaub's second-down pass was tipped by linebacker Patrick Willis on second down; on third down, linebacker Payrs Haralson came with pressure and forced Schaub out of the pocket, where he threw the ball away out of bounds. Turk's second punt of the game went outside at the 14-yard line.
From the press box - 12:14 p.m.A charged-up effort from the Texans' defense forced the 49ers into a three-and-out of their own. After Williams' sack, Amobi Okoye and Brian Cushing stuffed Frank Gore after a gain of only two yards, and Hill threw an incomplete pass to Vernon Davis on third down. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans was all over it and would've dropped Davis at the line of scrimmage if he had caught the ball.
The 49ers were flagged for holding on their punt attempt, which would've put the Texans at their own 33, and had to re-kick. After the second punt, a 49-yarder that was returned for no gain, the Texans will start their next drive at their own 43-yard line.
From the press box - 12:08 p.m.The Texans' first drive ended after three plays. Quarterback Matt Schaub scrambled up the middle on third-and-six from the 35-yard line and came up just short of the first down marker, leading to a punt.
Matt Turk kicked it down to the 20, and Mario Williams sacked Shaun Hill for a six-yard loss on the 49ers' first play.
From the press box - 12:05 p.m.Andre' Davis brought the opening kickoff back 20 yards to the 31-yard line. I'll report back after the Texans' first drive.
From the press box - 12:04 p.m.Presidents Bush and Bush did the coin toss - 41 (President George H.W. Bush) did the honors. The Texans won and will receive. Away we go.
From the press box - 11:50 a.m.Here's a picture of Presidents Bush and Bush (41 on the right, 43 on the left) taken from my phone. Neal E. Boyd is on the field performing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA", with veterans of major wars holding a giant U.S.-shaped American flag on the field.
From the press box - 11:42 a.m.Just got back up to the press box from the field. Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush walked on to the field right before I left, to a nice ovation from the crowd. They are today's honorary captains on Salute to the Military day and will do the pregame coin toss in a few minutes, then head up to the Founder's Suite to watch the game with Texans owner Bob McNair. Quite a treat to have them both here. - W. has never been to Reliant for a Texans game before
The weather is great on the field. Feels easily 10-20 degrees hotter in the parts of the field that the sun is shining on then the others, though.
When the Texans Cheerleaders (who are dressed in military garb) finish performing at midfield, the Salute to the Military festivities will get rolling. There's a target set up down on the field at one of the 30-yard lines near the Texans' bench. The Golden Knights U.S. Army Parachute Team will descend into the stadium from a blackhawk helicopter - one of the Knights will be carrying the game ball. Former "America's Got Talent" winner Neal E. Boyd will sing "God Bless the USA," and the national anthem will be performed by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tracy Labrecque.
From the press box - 11:08 a.m.I'm going down to the field to check out the scene down there and get a feel for the weather. It was a perfect day when I came into the stadium at 9 o'clock this morning, and it looks like a perfect day still.
I'll be back up in 20-30 minutes to give a play-by-play of the pregame festivities. There'll be a lot going on on the field today, including two very special honorary captains doing the coin toss for the Texans.
From the press box - 11:06 a.m.Here's what's cooking in the press box today. Check out the Texans press box pregame menu, along with the standard obligatory photo of the buffet line from my iPhone. The flautas are delicious.
Andouille cheesey mac
Smoked cheese flautas
Sauteed green beans
Fresh fruit salad
Apple cobbler served with ice cream
From the press box - 10:59 a.m.
We're about an hour away from kickoff in Week 7 for the Texans' matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. It's a beautiful day at Reliant Stadium, with the roof open and 76-degree sunny weather.
Cornerback Fred Bennett is among the Texans' inactives today. Bennett has played in 34 consecutive games dating back to his rookie season in 2007. Second-year cornerback Antwaun Molden will play in his second game of the 2009 season.
It's Salute to the Military day at Reliant Stadium, with a slew of tributes for the armed services planned before and during the game. Among them: The Golden Knights U.S. Army Parachute Team will descend into Reliant Stadium from a Black Hawk helicopter before the game.
Here's my view from the press box. Check out my five things to watch for in today's game: