Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spent only one year in San Francisco, but it was a quality one. He was the quarterback coach of the 1994 San Francisco 49ers, who eventually won Super Bowl XXIX for the team's fifth in franchise history.
It wasn't an easy path though as the 49ers began the season with a 3-2 record before finishing 13-3 en route to the Super Bowl. Kubiak remembers the season having a few obstacles while coaching under George Seifert that season.
"It wasn't fun or easy [in 1994]," Kubiak said in a conference call. "I remember how difficult our start was and how [had to overcome it] and played extremely well."
The 49ers followed the 3-2 start with a 10-game winning streak before defeating the San Diego Chargers in a 49-26 rout in the Super Bowl. Kubiak remembers mostly positive memories in his short time with the 49ers organization.
"[I work with] a lot of great players and people," Kubiak said. "Mr. [Eddie] DeBartolo was wonderful man to get to know and great to my family. The crowd in San Francisco was tremendous. It was a one-year stop for me, but it was an enjoyable one."
Fast forward to the present day and Kubiak is in a similar situation as the head coach of the Houston Texans. His team is off to a 2-2 start coming off a frustrating loss to the Seattle Seahawks where they blew a 17-point lead and lost in overtime.
Kubiak said the parity in the NFL is always a challenge and he knows the team needs to rebound after a demoralizing loss.
"[Last week's loss] makes it tough when you play well and don't finish the product at the end of the day it's tough to swallow," Kubiak said. "There are a lot of good teams in this league. You have to get over the games you win and when things don't go well you have to move on next week. We better refocus real fast to get ready to play."
The Seahawks forced two crucial turnovers which led to points to force overtime. Richard Sherman returned an interception by Matt Schaub for a touchdown with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to tie it up. Almost 12 minutes into the overtime period, Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka ended the game with a 45-yard field goal.
One of the biggest things the Texans head coach saw was how physical the defense of the 49ers was last week against the Rams.
"[Their] scheme is tremendous," Kubiak said. "Vic [Fangio] does a wonderful job. He always has a solid scheme and he keeps everything inside and in front of him. I'm impressed with their physical nature of play."
The 49ers are coming off one of their best defensive performances of the season in allowing a season-low 14 rushing yards against the St. Louis Rams last week. Sam Bradford was also ineffective as he forced an interception by Donte Whitner and the Rams couldn't muster anything in the passing game.
Meanwhile, Kubiak said Colin Kaepernick has been a great quarterback, citing his performance of 412 passing yards in Week 1 against the Packers. Even though the Texans don't run the read-option or have a mobile quarterback, the head coach said they have had to prepare for opponents of that nature.
"Colin Kaepernick is a hell of a player," Kubiak said. "He has a huge arm to throw it down the field. [His running abilities] always [need] to be a part of your preparation. If we faced him last week and we do a good job in coverage, he makes plays on you. It will be a challenge this week."
Kubiak talked about how both teams are coming off high expectations, but it means little when spectators compare last season to this year. The 49ers and Texans won their respective division in 2012 with the latter making the AFC divisional playoffs and the former losing the Super Bowl.
He said there will be adversity to overcome and what makes a great team is how everyone handles the pressure from fans and media alike.
"Success goes with the territory as people start with opinions on all the teams," Kubiak said. "It gets down to how you play. [We] win two miracle types of football games and we give one up the other day. It reminds you how difficult this league is because last year does nothing for you. It matters this year how you handle situations and injuries."
The 49ers and Texans will meet on Sunday Night Football at 5:30 p.m. PT.