Struggling 49ers hit the road for 2 games looking to win
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jim Tomsula is now talking about having his players sprint off the bus and into Solider Field on Sunday.
Anything that might get things going on the road at last.
The San Francisco 49ers (3-8) are 0-5 away from Levi’s Stadium this season and little points to them getting over that hump unless things change drastically, and in a hurry.
They go to Chicago this week then travel to Cleveland the next, putting the Niners not only in two tough venues but also probably facing wintry weather. Former Browns kicker Phil Dawson is bracing for rain and snow.
“After our meeting this morning with the film, that was the first topic of conversation,” Tomsula said Monday.
Whatever the conditions, San Francisco first must find a way to avoid the rash of mistakes seen in Sunday’s 19-13 home loss to the first-place Arizona Cardinals, namely 13 penalties for 81 yards.
“You’re not going to change flights. You’re not going to change that you’re going on the road,” Tomsula said. “So, the changes need to come from each one of us and how we have ourselves prepared to play. Again, the acknowledgement of it and mentally coming off getting off a bus on game day and maybe we need to sprint off the bus. But, that sense of urgency and attack that football game.”
While many of the Niners were furious at the officials Sunday, they still must clean up their play to avoid costly miscues.
Quinton Dial was called for a debated roughing the passer penalty on Arizona’s winning drive, and the 49ers thought it was clean.
Carson Palmer put it this way: “There’s no debate here. He hit me right in the face with the crown of his helmet.”
A day later, Tomsula still thought Dial did the legal thing.
“Listen, things happen on a football field in real time. My vantage point of the play is we came in and Dial was working to get to the strike zone, which we call a strike zone. Same way you throw a pitch, from the knees to the shoulders,” he said. “And that’s where we’re aiming to tackle for the integrity and safety of the game. So, that’s what we do. And I did see him lower to get into that strike zone. But, I am not here to critique officiating.”
Oh, his players did so for him.
Infuriated 49ers left guard Alex Boone went off, saying he doesn’t care if the NFL fines him.
“I’m not really too worried about getting fined, I thought those refs sucked,” Boone said in the locker room Sunday. “If you don’t like what we say then don’t like what we say, don’t throw a flag for it. That’s what I’m sick about this league. This is supposed to be a man’s game. Be a man. That’s what (ticks) me off, because guys like that work in this league and work on that field and we have to deal with it.”
Even Cardinals coach Bruce Arians let loose afterward on all the flying yellow flags, saying: “The officials were struggling mightily. They can’t count to three.”
“It thought it was ridiculous all day,” San Francisco wideout Anquan Boldin said. “If you’re going to call the game that way, call it both ways. Don’t let it be so lopsided where it’s blatant.”
Going forward under challenging circumstances, San Francisco still must find ways to deal with whatever happens. The 49ers matched their season high in penalties, a depth also reached Nov. 1 at St. Louis.
Tomsula said it’s about “aggressiveness within the rules.”
A win on the road sure would help.
“It all comes down to just finishing the game,” tight end Blake Bell said. “There’s been tons of games, even yesterday, games we’re right in it and we’ve just got to finish the game.”
NOTES: TE Garrett Celek was scheduled to have an MRI on his injured left ankle, which is believed to be a high ankle sprain. He was hurt Sunday. ... QB Colin Kaepernick was due to start his rehab Monday at team headquarters following last week’s surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder.
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