Growing up in nearby Kentfield, Calif., Travis LaBoy regularly attended games at Candlestick Park and was raised on some of the best moments in 49ers history.
Fast forward to Sunday’s 40-21 win over Seattle, the 29-year-old pass-rushing linebacker was making those moments himself, having a hand in the biggest win of the 49ers season so far.
The free agent acquisition registered a “trifecta” on Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the second quarter, sacking him, forcing a fumble and recovering it with one quick swoop of his right arm. The second of five Seattle’s turnovers set up Josh Morgan’s 15-yard touchdown catch which gave the 49ers an insurmountable 20-7 lead.
To LaBoy, being a part of such plays was all the more rewarding. After all, who knows exactly what Sunday’s victory meant to the team and the whole Bay Area more than the sixth-year pro who grew up cheering for the 49ers?
“It was definitely fun, anytime you’re winning its fun. Nobody likes losing,” said LaBoy one day after the 49ers improved to 5-8 and are now one game out of first place with three games left. “If we keep winning, the fun times will keep rolling.”
But a “fun time” is not how the 49ers view Thursday night’s matchup against Philip Rivers and the high-powered San Diego Chargers offense.
“With Rivers, you see the stats he’s putting up. It’s more of a challenge, trying to stop one of the top offenses in the league right now,” LaBoy added.
The 49ers have Monday off, and will return to the practice fields the following day before flying out to San Diego on Wednesday. With the preparation time being so limited, coach Mike Singletary is completely focused on the task at hand – beating San Diego on the road.
“You’re just trying to make sure that you have everything where it needs to be, making sure that your players are at that mental state of mind, and trying to figure out practice, trying to look at some of the injuries, even though they are day-to-day, trying to figure out how to manage those things, and at the same time, putting a game plan together. So that’s where my mind is.”
Notes and Quotes
The best thing Alex Smith did on Sunday, wasn’t the three first-half touchdowns or the 130.9 quarterback rating he finished with – it was just him being himself, tight end Delanie Walker said.
“He was the same dude. Alex doesn’t change,” Walker added. “He’s going to be the same person. That’s the good thing about him. He doesn’t act brand new. He did a good job of just being himself.”
Rookie guard Mike Iupati suffered a shoulder stinger on Sunday, but Singletary said “thankfully” it’s only a day-to-day injury.
Singletary was pleased with the bounce-back performance by the secondary. “They did a nice job,” he said. “They read their keys, they tackled better, they, as a defense, they did a nice job. They were just patient. Everybody did their job, everybody was on the same page, communicated well and it worked out well.”
The short turnaround won’t be an excuse for the 49ers this week. Knowing what needs to be done, it’s on them to make it happen.
“It’s football,” Walker explained. “If they tell me to play on Tuesday, I’m going to play on Tuesday. That’s just part of our jobs. It’s a live game, everybody’s going to watch and I like playing on live television. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Delanie Walker, Mike Iupati, Travis LaBoy
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