By Dave Thomas

HOUSTON, TX- SEPTEMBER 29: Houston Texans fans hold Texans signs while the Houston Texans are introduced before playing against the Seattle Seahawks on September 29, 2013 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

(Credit, Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

After a 2-0 start to the season, the Houston Texans have been left reeling the last two weekends. That begs the question: can they turn things around when they head to San Francisco this Sunday evening?

Following a comeback win over San Diego (31-28) and an overtime thriller against Tennessee (30-24), the Texans saw their luck run out on them two weekends in a row, with losses to defending Super Bowl champ Baltimore (30-9) and an overtime heart-breaker at home last Sunday against Seattle (23-20). Now the task at hand is trying to gain a win in he team’s final appearance at San Francisco’s venerable Candlestick Park against the 49ers.

What has happened to Houston and San Francisco?

A meeting that before the season looked really good on paper has lost some of its luster, that being with both the Texans and Niners both coming into Sunday night’s contest at 2-2.

San Francisco, which came into the season fresh-off its NFC Championship and an appearance in the Super Bowl against Baltimore, let former starting quarterback Alex Smith go to Kansas City, placing high hopes on quarterback Colin Kaepernick. While the latter has struggled to date at times this season, Smith is a perfect 4-0 with the Chiefs under new head coach Andy Reid.

Some eyes have also turned to Houston’s quarterback situation in the last couple of weeks, with starter Matt Schaub getting some disparaging looks from Texan fans. While head coach Gary Kubiak has given no indication of a change at the position, don’t be shocked if backup T.J. Yates gets another look should Schaub continue to have some rough starts moving forward.

Heading into Sunday night’s important meeting, the Texans have an injury list that is more like the size of lists that children compile for Santa yearly.

Can the Texans protect Schaub?

The Texans reported heading into the weekend that a number of key players either saw limited or no action in practice during the week.

Among the notable names seeing limited participation in practice: linebacker Brian Cushing (concussion), wide receiver Andre Johnson (shin), safety Ed Reed (hip/abdomen), and running back Greg Jones (foot/groin). Linebackers Tim Dobbins and Darryl Sharpton did not participate in practice, along with guard Brandon Brooks.

Meantime, All-Pro left tackle Duane Brown did practice this week, this after missing a pair of games with a strained toe. Having Brown back in the lineup would undoubtedly offer Schaub some more support, especially given the fact the Virginia product was sacked four times in the loss to Seattle this past Sunday.

Sunday’s game in San Francisco is one of two games in the Bay Area that evening.

In an unusual twist, the Oakland Raiders will host the San Diego Chargers at 8:30 p.m. local time Sunday, this due to the fact that Oakland’s field needs to be returned to football following Saturday’s MLB playoff contest between the A’s and Detroit Tigers.

Thursday (10/3/13)

Did not participate

  • G Brandon Brooks Toe
  • ILB Tim Dobbins Hamstring
  • ILB Darryl Sharpton Foot/Hip

Limited participation

  • OLB Bryan Braman Hamstring/Shoulder
  • T Duane Brown Toe
  • ILB Brian Cushing Concussion
  • TE Owen Daniels Knee
  • WR Andre Johnson Shin
  • FB Greg Jones Foot/Groin
  • S Ed Reed Hip/Abdomen
  • G Wade Smith Knee
  • DE J.J. Watt Groin/Nose

Full participation

  • RB Arian Foster Thumb/Back
  • TE Garrett Graham Hip/Groin
  • CB Johnathan Joseph Non-Injury/Rest*
  • CB Brice McCain Knee
  • C Chris Myers Biceps
  • T Derek Newton Knee
  • S Eddie Pleasant Hamstring
  • WR DeVier Posey Achilles
  • RB Ben Tate Shoulder

For more Houston Texans news and updates, visit Houston Texans Central.

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on


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