The 49ers are skipping town, hoping some time away from home can get them off their current franchise-worst losing streak.
The Niners have a date in Miami today to play a run-heavy Dolphins team, then Chip Kelly’s team will hang out in Orlando for a week before heading up to play the Bears in Chicago.
The 49ers won’t be back in Santa Clara until Dec. 5. But they’ll play in two (rare) winnable games in the interim.
It was the players’ call to stay away from the Bay Area for an extended period, according to Kelly.
“They didn’t really want to travel back then travel again,” Kelly said. “So that was a big part of it. They had a big say in the matter of what we were going to do and the guys that had done it before talked about it. Guys like Joe [Staley] that had done it before said he actually liked it from a travel standpoint and what that does to you.”
What the Dolphins will be able to do to a depleted Niners defense — now without Eric Reid for the rest of the season due to a torn biceps — remains to be seen. They don’t line up well for the visitors with a bruising, run-first style and a capable running back in Jay Ajayi.
But injuries up front have slowed their attack in recent weeks (although they’re in a five-game winning streak), and if their big guys can’t return to the field, the Niners might just have a chance to stick around. (They did play competitively with New England and Tommy Terrific for three quarters before the Patriots pulled away — a week after losing on the last play of the game to the Cardinals.)
The game might hinge on the health of those big guys, while the 49ers’ collective mood in the home of Walt Disney World will undoubtedly be reliant on how they do against the Dolphins.
The best-case (albeit a tad cynical) scenario for the Niners: Ending the skid by winning one of the next two games to give Kelly a little more power going into next season. He’ll need it when they’re picking with the No. 2 spot.