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Road Warriors

Posted by Alex Espinoza on November 4, 2011 – 2:11 PM

The Eastern time zone isn’t all that bad. Not for these 49ers.

As they travel to Washington, D.C., for their Week 9 matchup with the Redskins (3-4), the 49ers are one of three NFL teams to remain undefeated away from home. They’ve done it in style, too, recording spirited second-half comebacks in each of their three road contests.

Looking back, the week-long trip to Youngstown, Ohio between road victories in Cincinnati and Philadelphia may have been the turning point for this team.

“I think it was the point where we clicked,” Delanie Walker said.

Out of their home facilities for the first time, in close quarters with roommates, the 49ers (6-1) were pushed out of their comfort zone. And that’s just where coach Jim Harbaugh wants to be.

“We really don’t want to be comfortable with ourselves,” Harbaugh said. “We want to stay sharp, take no short cuts, don’t want to let our guard down.”

They haven’t lost since they embarked for Ohio, developing one the league’s top rushing attacks since.

The 49ers head into the nation’s capital with the league’s sixth-best rushing average (137.6 yards per game) and the sixth-best scoring offense (26.7 points per game). Defensively, the 49ers lead the league in those respective categories, limiting opponents to 73.4 rushing yards and 15.3 points per game.

Such success can only be possible with detailed preparation. Throughout the locker room, players were quick to praise Harbaugh and his coaching staff for their diligence in the classroom.

“It starts with the preparation,” Joe Staley said. “I think on the road you really have to be dialed into what you’re trying to do. You can’t let crowd noise affect you and I think we’ve been doing a good job of keeping that to a minimum.”

Walker also said the 49ers have gone to extra lengths to prepare for another game in the Eastern time zone, getting to team headquarters earlier so their bodies can adjust to the three-hour time difference better. Once they get to practice, the 49ers try to play at a game-like tempo so they can better handle fourth-quarter fatigue.

Harbaugh has stressed the importance of mental, physical and emotional endurance to his team this season. Such a mindset has allowed the 49ers to score 21 unanswered points to claim a 24-23 victory against the Eagles and earn the scintillating 25-19 win in Detroit.

“I think that’s the difference,” said Walker, who caught a late, fourth-down touchdown to help defeat the Lions in Week 6. “We want the game more.”

As the players have grown more comfortable with the preparation methods of their coaching staff, it appears the coaches feel the same way about their players.

“I have a lot more confidence now than we did the first time that we got together, even the first time we went on an East coast road trip,” Harbaugh said. “And that really comes from the way the players are going about their business and preparing, their training. So, yes there’s that, which is big.”

Injury Update

While starting defensive tackle Ray McDonald has been ruled doubtful for Sunday’s contest, the 49ers could be getting reinforcements in the secondary. Cornerback Tramaine Brock, who has missed the last three games with a hand injury, is listed as probable on the injury report. Fullback Moran Norris, who is questionable for Sunday, could also return for his first game action since suffering a fibula injury in Week 2.

Click here to see the Week 9 injury report

Posted in Announcements | 26 Comments »

26 Responses to “Road Warriors”

  1. By tarcule on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Are you guys HUNGRY? Who has it better than us?!!!! Run the Redskins OVER!!!!! GO NINERS!!!

  2. By jj on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    As a life long Niner fan (I have photographic proof: A photo of myself in the crib w/ a Niners T-shirt 38 yrs ago) I am FLOORED by what’s happening. Why has this taken so long????? Not complaining!!!! Every game has been competitive. I have not been so excited about EVERY play of EVERY game for a LONG time! The defense is killer. Special teams are flawless. The offense is extremely efficient behind the BRUTAL/DECIMATING line!!!!!!! Special times as a fan! Kinda reminds me of the Giants (the SAN FRANCISCO Giants!!!!!!) World Series run last year…..Back to back SF Championships????? This is my DREAM!!!!!!! WHO HAS IT BETTER THAN US??? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. By chali82 on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    let’s go get’em vic that defense goin dumb they servin everybody run game

  4. By Greg on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    Getting ready for this game. Watch this video to get pumped up: http://youtu.be/K_RjXLGhohs

  5. By seven years with Alex on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    lol …WHAT?????

  6. By RJohnny49 on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    I love the fact that the 49ers are an excellent road team. Bring your running game and your defense and you have a good chance on the road. As the season goes on it is showing how good our defense is, along with our
    offense running the ball and controling the clock, this helps any defense.
    The next step is for Alex to gain confidence in himself to make the throws
    that he has been missing. He is not far away and when that happens we are going to be very difficult to beat.

  7. By missouri 9er on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    This redskins game is one we should dominate BUT lets make sure we don’t underestimate these guys a wounded team like this is dangerous! GO NINERS COME BACK HOME 7-1!!!!!!!!!

  8. By tarcule on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    A new HUNGRY BEAST will be out tomorrow!!!! Demarcus Dobbs I can not wait to see his performance!

  9. By Corey on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply




  10. By Kendall on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Don’t play Norris. The run game stinks when he is in the game. Keep Miller in there the rest of the season.

  11. By SF49er4Life on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    I see a blowout by our niners this weekend 7 and 1

    Go 49ers>>>>>>>Next Superbowl Champions

  12. By loyal fan on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    I agree dont play norris limit his plays though to get back into things. I love the way we are playing right now after ten years of struggling we are finally making that first step and thats da post season and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Alex whenever one doubted u I said i got faith in you you got it deep threats in crabtree use him trust me i seen him at Tech he got it

  13. By ogre on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Never underestimate an opponent! Sometimes the same expectations we have seen in our team; can rise up within an opponent. Champion teams are methodically consistent. With the rising improvement in three phases of the game;
    Alex will continue to “open up” his game as well as the coaches turning another
    page themselves. Big ups for Coach Hardballs and his coaching staff. This really
    is a “team” that plays for eachother and the 49ers/fans. Long time coming- gonna
    be a long time before it gone. Go Niners!! One game at a time.

  14. By NINERFAMILY4LIFE on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    I agree. Never underestimate an opponent. I hope we go into D.C. and play them (and every team after them) as if thier an undefeated team and we’re playing for the “Whole Thing”. Let’s finish this thing Hittin On All Cylinders the rest of the way. ALL GAS & NO BRAKES!!!!! GOOOOOO NIIIIIIIIINERS!!!!!!!

  15. By Chris#81 on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t see a damn reason we cant finish atlwast 13-3 Go Gore!!!!!Go 49ers!!!!!!

  16. By Basil on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Yes, yes, keep mIller in the game, we seem to be doing better with him in !

  17. By Basil on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    “Never underestimate an opponent.”
    Right! one game at a time, we don’t need to get ahead of our selfs, we’ve got the whole season to get to where we’re going, right?

  18. By Basil on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Any change we got us a defensive rookie of the year?

  19. By Douglas on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Never underestimate!!! Just ask the saints !!!

  20. By ishmael stagner on Nov 5, 2011 | Reply

    Every game is a new game. The past is over. The present counts. It comes down to an aggressive defense and a relentless offense.

  21. By rjd niner on Nov 6, 2011 | Reply


  22. By Rick in Round Rock Tx on Nov 6, 2011 | Reply

    Hell yea !!!!
    Lets go niners dont let them breath from the start to the finish. And I agree with everyone we should not take the wounded Dead Skins lightly. Good luck guys loving this season thinking of upgrading my 49er tattoo. I am adding some color wish there was a way we could post pics!!! Maybe something you can look into TEDDY!!!!!

  23. By Rick in Round Rock Tx on Nov 6, 2011 | Reply

    I guess this blog is Alexs baby.
    Alex Espinoza maybe you can look into a way we can post pics.

  24. By rjd niner on Nov 6, 2011 | Reply


  25. By Adrian 9er for life on Nov 6, 2011 | Reply

    I love my 9ers all ways we will be SUPER BOWL CHAMPS this year no one has it better than us. Love them 9ers

  26. By TonyC on Nov 7, 2011 | Reply

    I think the Niners do two things well that you have to do to go far in the league without being flashy….RUN THE BALL WELL and STOP THE RUN

    THey do this very well …7-1 isn’t a fluke…we’re good !! FINALLY!!!!!

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