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Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett both play well in opener

Bill O'Brien's big decision didn't get any easier on Saturday night. The Houston Texans coach watched his two starting quarterback candidates play very well in the team's preseason-opening win against San Francisco.

Brian Hoyer started the game and put up eight points in his only drive. He completed a third-and-long to keep the drive alive, and then hit Cecil Shorts for a 58-yard catch-and-run touchdown over the middle.

Shorts, also in a battle for snaps, looked very fast pulling away from 49ers safety Antoine Bethea. Hoyer's night was done after he hit sneaky Hard Knocks star DeAndre Hopkins with a back shoulder throw for the two-point conversion.

Ryan Mallett played the remainder of the first half. While the Texans didn't score under his watch, that had more to do with the team's poor running. (The Texans had 10 consecutive plays inside the 10-yard line on Mallett's first drive without scoring.) Mallett was very accurate, completing 10 of 11 passes for 90 yards. While he wasn't flashy, Mallett knew where to go with the ball. His only bad decision came when he tried to scramble for a first down.

The distribution of snaps was the most interesting thing about the Texans battle on Saturday. Hoyer only played one series, which is how you normally treat a starter in the preseason. But O'Brien indicated after the game that Mallett would start the second week of the preseason, with Hoyer playing more in reserve.  This battle isn't ending anytime soon.

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