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49ers defense strong at home, bad on the road

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The San Francisco 49ers run defense did solid work against Chris Johnson, a week after giving up a record-setting performance to Thomas Rawls. What gives with the home/road dichotomy?

The San Francisco 49ers lost a tough one on Sunday, but as has been the case this season, there were some positives to take from the game. The most notable on the defensive side of the ball was another generally solid home performance from the unit. The tackling left a lot to be desired, but holding one of the best offenses in the league to 20 points is a big thing. They shot themselves in the foot a couple times, and got kicked in the junk by the refs a couple times, but all in all, they did a good job.

While we have seen good work from the 49ers defense at home, we have not seen quite the same thing on the road. Phil Barber tweeted out these numbers, and you can likely guess the road games:

The pass defense has been a little less lopsided, with solid work against Carson Palmer, Matt Ryan and Nick Foles, and a poor performance against Russell Wilson.

What exactly do we make of this home/road dichotomy? Does the defense just "get up" for home games better? Would it be a travel thing? Is it a let-down after a decent performance? I don't really know, but there is clearly something going on here.

The 49ers head on the road to face Matt Forte, Jeremy Langford and the Chicago Bears next week. The Bears ground game struggled against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving. Matt Forte is back in action for Chicago, and Jeremy Langford will complement him. They combined for 92 rushing yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry. They are not a knockout combination right now, but will they find success against the 49ers rushing defense next week? The 49ers need to figure out what works at home and get it going on the road.

Eli Harold on this week's better run defense:

"I feel like last week we didn't come to stop the run, which we pride ourselves on. Since I got drafted here, stop the run, stop the run. I watched past film on the guys and that's what we've been known for. I feel like last week was a slap in the face to the offense and I feel like we didn't do a good enough job last week. Coming into this week we stressed it a lot. Tackle the ball, tackle the ball, get after the ball. I feel like we did a great job stopping the run and accomplishing our goal of stopping the run."

Quinton Dial on the different energy at home vs. on the road:

"It's just something that, we came out and said we were just going to put our pride on the line and come out and play together. It's something we're just going to have to build on and take it on the road with us. We're on the road the next two weeks, so it's something we can build off of and take with us."

Jim Tomsula on more aggressive tackling:

"Today we went after the tackles. We didn't break down. We saw the stuff that we emphasized in practice. We saw the getting after it. You saw the pursuit and the tackling."