The 49ers got back to their high-protein diet of forcing turnovers on Sunday night – with a huge thanks in order for Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.
It’s a phenomenon that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh likens to emptying a jar of olives. And in their back-to-back losses to the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts, the 49ers found themselves with nothing but pits. The 49ers turned the ball over eight times in those two games while generating just one turnover while getting outscored 56-10 in those games.
But on Sunday, the 49ers scored 24 points off their four takeaways, including Tramaine Brock’s 18-yard interception return for a touchdown just 90 seconds into the team’s 34-3 victory. Schaub threw three interceptions before getting benched.
“We’ve been kind of down on getting turnovers and sometimes things just kind of start breaking right for you,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “Kind of like the olive jar. Everybody’s familiar with the olive jar.”
Well, maybe not, but Harbaugh explained.
[WEEK 5 REWIND: 49ers crush Texans 34-3]
“Well, you open it up and a brand new can of olives and turn it over and no olives come out,” Harbaugh said. “They’re packed in there so darn tight, but if you just get one to come out, just pluck one out of there and then they want to come out, they’re just flying out of the jar.
“So, hopefully, that’s the case for us defensively. You just wonder, are you ever going to get a turnover, or interception or fumble and how can we get one. Then you get one and then you get, then they start flying your way. So, hopefully, that’s where we’re at.”
The 49ers currently rank 20th in the NFL with an even turnover margin. The 49ers have committed nine giveaways – four interceptions and five lost fumbles -- while coming up with six interceptions and recovering three fumbles.
In 2011, the 49ers led the NFL with a turnover margin of plus-28. Last year, the 49ers ranked No. 8 at plus-nine.