When the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Houston Texans 23-20 in overtime last week, they took advantage of the turnovers which led to 10 points. They scored a field goal in the third quarter off a fumble by Ben Tate and Richard Sherman returned an interception for a touchdown.
Seattle was initially dominated the entire first half against the Texans, but the offense remained flat. The biggest key will be whoever wins the turnover battle should be victorious on Sunday night.
Dating back to last season, the 49ers have a 6-1 record when Colin Kaepernick doesn't throw an interception. The only loss which involved no interceptions was the 16-13 OT loss to the St. Louis Rams last year. Kaepernick ended up pitching the ball to Ted Ginn Jr. off course which led to a live ball and Rams touchdown.
In contrast, the 49ers have a 3-4 record when Kaepernick throws an interception, including 0-2 this season. Against the St. Louis Rams in Week 4, the coaching staff utilized the quarterback perfectly in a game manager role. Coming off a loss where Kaepernick was asked to do too much, the 49ers let the ground game speak for itself and played to the strength of the offensive line.
This week, the Texans will try to rely on DE J.J. Watt to bring the pressure and Kaepernick will need to stay aware of it. They upgraded their secondary with the signing of S Ed Reed, but they can allow plays. Star LB Brian Cushing is coming off a concussion which he has been cleared to most likely play this week.
To prevent anything back breaking, the 49ers will need to also play disciplined with penalties as they're the second highest in the league with 39 total, only behind the New York Jets who have 43. Against the Colts in Week 3, the secondary was caught with three penalties which resulted in first downs, which including a defensive holding and pass interference calls.
It will be important for the 49ers on Sunday night to maintain their composure and let the mistakes come to Houston is still a good team, but they're flawed and Matt Schaub will make mistakes that the 49ers need to pounce on.