Brian Hoyer, DeAndre Hopkins

In the battle for the starting quarterback spot for the Houston Texans, determined eventually by the performances in the preseason games, it was Brian Hoyer making a better impression in a 23-10 over the San Francisco 49ers, while Ryan Mallett looked good but is now probably behind in the race.

Head coach Bill O’Brien keeps saying that there’s no reason to judge or decide anything for him or the fans going by the game and probably the second one, but he’s seeing what everyone saw, which was Hoyer doing very well on his opening and only drive, resulting in a touchdown and a two-point conversion off of his pass.

Hoyer, trying to get back on the horse after a very bad second half to his season with the Browns, completed 2-of-4 passes for 67 yards. He completed a 58-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts III before finding DeAndre Hopkins on the 2-point conversion to take the 8-0 lead.

Mallett didn’t throw any touchdown passes, but did complete 10-of-11 passes for 90 yards, although struggled in converting a drive into points from very close range, which is obviously something he’ll have to show he can do in the next couple of weeks if he wants to be starting in week 1.

Tom Savage, the third-string quarterback, threw a touchdown pass, but the more interesting aspect was the running back by committee race, as Alfred Blue led the way with 59 yards on nine carries, followed by Kenny Hilliard going for 39 on 13 attempts and Chris Polk, maybe the best of the bench, rushing for 29 yards but also doing well as a receiver with 36 yards.

The Texans were far from a full lineup. J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork, Jadeveon Clowney and Jonathan Joseph didn’t play, with Clowney not even getting dressed up for the game, as he’s still about a few days away from even participating in practice.

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