Game snapshot: 49ers vs. Texans

Sunday's season finale at Monster Park may feature two bad teams battling in the NFL basement, but there still is plenty for both the 49ers and Houston Texans to play for: The Texans are playing for either the No. 1 pick in the 2006 NFL draft or to not finish with sole possession of the league's worst record, coach Dom Capers is playing for his job, and the 49ers are playing to double their victory total of last year and finish a season with a two-game winning streak for first time since 1996.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:05 Pacific

SITE: Monster Park in San Francisco

SURFACE: Grass

RECORDS: 49ers 3-12, Texans 2-13

TV: CBS, Bill Macatee, Rich Gannon

SERIES: First meeting between two teams. The 49ers are the last NFL team the Texans have yet to play since entering the league as an expansion team in 2002

2005 NFL RANKINGS: Texans: offense 30th (14th rush, 30th pass); defense 31st (30th rush, 27th pass). 49ers: offense 32nd (18th rush, 32nd pass); defense 32nd (21st rush, 32nd pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Many Texans fans are likely pulling for a 49ers victory so Houston can secure the No. 1 overall draft pick and hopefully land Southern California RB Reggie Bush. But coach Dom Capers is playing to win - and to keep his job. That means attacking a 49ers secondary that is so beat up that LB Julian Peterson was pressed into cornerback duty last weekend. Texans WR Andre Johnson is coming of his first 100-yard receiving game of the season, but QB David Carr needs RBs Jonathan Wells and Vernand Morency to step up with starter Domanick Davis out. The 49ers' offense is even more reliant on getting production out of its ground game. The offensive line is showing steady improvement and RBs Frank Gore and Maurice Hicks combined to rush for 177 yards and three touchdowns last week. With the Texans rushing the passer better down the stretch and 49ers QB Alex Smith still working out major rookie kinks, it's vital for San Francisco to be able to move the chains on the ground.

FAST FACTS: Texans: Are 0-7 on the road this season. ... LB Shantee Orr has 6.0 sacks in his past five games. 49ers: Smith has attempted 136 passes, but has yet to throw his first NFL touchdown. ... Gore has 500 rushing yards and needs 13 to have the most by a 49er rookie since Roger Craig's 725 in 1983.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25 - Consecutive games in which the opposition has gained more net yards passing than the 49ers. During that stretch, the 49ers have averaged 134.9 yards passing, while the opposition has averaged 257.9. 3 - Since 1990, KR Jerome Mathis joins Tyrone Hughes (5th round, 1993) of New Orleans and Johnny Johnson (7th round, 1990) of the Phoenix Cardinals as the only rookies selected to the Pro Bowl who were drafted in the fourth round or later. Texans special teams coach Joe Marciano coached both Mathis and Hughes, who was also a kick returner.

QUOTES TO NOTE

"Once we got out of the playoff mix, which was early on, it was all about continuing on the path to building for the future, which is what we knew we had to do when we came in. And getting on a winning note is one of the hurdles you've got to get over on your way to being a good team." - 49ers coach Mike Nolan.

"I wish we could have won some more games. That stuff looks good on the back of football cards, maybe, but as far as sleeping at night and having fun and enjoying a season where you get to go the playoffs. Just seeing what Jacksonville got to go through the other day on our field, it kind of frustrates you a little bit. The fact that they're going to go on and play and have a chance to compete for a Super Bowl, that's something we want to do around here and something I want to do to. I actually don't (have trouble sleeping at night), but it's something that you kind of long for. You want to win as a competitor. That stuff's always going to be with you no matter what you're doing." - QB David Carr, when asked about the possibility of setting a career-high in TD passes and career-low in interceptions on Sunday.


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