Four times already this season, the 49ers have had to fly from the West Coast out east to play a Sunday game.
Tomorrow, they’ll have to head out to the East Coast again, only this time it will be on a dramatically shortened week.
That’s something which irritates 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who feels that his team is at a significant disadvantage having to leave home on Wednesday and fly all the way across the country for a Thursday night game.
“There’s no doubt we got the short of the straw on this one, but we’ll see if we can make history,” Jim Harbaugh said. “This is the first time two brothers have coached against each other (and) the first time an NFL team has traveled three time zones to play a Thursday night game after a Sunday game since the league went to a 16-game schedule. There are a couple firsts, and we’ll do everything we can to be successful.”
Informed of his brother’s comments, John Harbaugh did not express any sympathy for the 49ers.
“I think that they are 4-0 on the East Coast,” the Ravens’ coach said. “They have made this trip four times and they have won four times. So, I would say advantage, 49ers, in that case.”
Harbaugh is not incorrect; the 49ers have not lost this season when they’ve played away from home. That includes games at Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Detroit and Washington, four hard-fought contests against East Coast opponents which the 49ers won by an average of five points.
Still, having to fly six hours across the country and play in an earlier time zone surely seems to put Jim Harbaugh’s team at somewhat of a disadvantage. West Coast teams traditionally seem to have trouble playing on the East Coast because of the travel and adjustments that needed to be made playing in an earlier time zone.
While that’s particularly true for games with a 1 p.m. start, the trip isn’t a ton easier even with a primetime kickoff.
“When they saw this game on their schedule, they were probably pretty upset because that’s a long flight and they just got done playing a game,” Ravens cornerback Chris Carr said. “It was probably good for them that they beat Arizona pretty handily (Sunday). But still, traveling on a short week like that, I’m sure they’re not going to be happy about it.”
While a few Ravens admitted they’re happy the traveling roles aren’t reversed, and Jim Harbaugh believes it’s a considerable inconvenience for his team to make the trip out east, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said he won’t let the situation bother him.
“I think it’s all mental,” Davis said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. “We can’t let that worry us. We have to go out and just do our job. Do our job, make the most out of our opportunities, and just take advantage. Take advantage of what we have in front of us and just play. We’re a winning team right now; we have to continue to stay in that direction.”