If the San Francisco 49ers want to string together back-to-back wins for the first time this season they will have to do it by getting past a talented Houston Texans football team. Obviously, there are several players the 49ers will have to slow down in order to be victorious Sunday night. With that being said, who is one player San Francisco must keep in check in Week 5?
In general, teams have found it difficult to move the chains against Houston’s defense. However, it is defensive end J.J. Watt that will serve to be the real problem. Watt’s relentless pressure and team-leading three and half sacks is a big reason why the Texans have held opponents to a NFL-best 141 passing yards per game.
San Francisco has struggled to move the ball through the air this season as it is, but with Watt around it could be nearly impossible. The fact is Watt is angry about last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks and plans to use the 49ers as his punching bag. For that reason, San Francisco’s offense will have to pay more attention to him than most teams typically do or pay the price.
“He can ruin a game,” 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said, according to SFGate.com. “He can ruin a game for his opponent.”
Watt is someone that is a factor in the pass and run game. If he is not giving the quarterback nightmares by swarming in the backfield, he is doing it by dropping into coverage and knocking down passes. His 25 total tackles are also a good indication that he is disruptive when it comes to team’s trying to establish a rushing attack.
Obviously, there is no way for the 49ers to make Watt non-existent. With that being said, they can definitely slow him down by using packages that will force him into coverage, while also establishing a run game early. Houston is giving up over 100 yards per game on the ground, which means this is San Francisco’s best area of attack in the early part of the game.