Here is the opening to my column from the 49ers-Patriots game:


Credit is due, credit as high as Mount Everest.

That game between the 49ers and Patriots was epic, historic, momentous. Choose your superlative. And choose it with joy. It was one of the best and certainly among the most interesting football games you ever will see.

Even at the end with the outcome finally clarified, the Patriots scored a field goal and were not giving an inch. There was such pride and dignity on both sides. So, give credit to both teams and give special credit to the 49ers for winning. Or was it surviving?

To read the full column, please click here.

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  1. Johnc

    Ha ha..I actually imagined you deeply mired in your story line in the second half when all hell broke loose and you had to re-write everything.
    It was a great game on many levels. Scoring ten points after the game was tied at 31 all was huge for the mindset of this team heading into the playoffs.
    As for coaching..yes Roman got timid instead of staying aggresive and called running plays to keep the clock runnig except N.E. would have none of that. Also, it was pointed out that the Niners went from man to man coverage into a zone. The zone defense is what Brady Shredded with four touchdowns in what seemed like five minutes.

    December 17th, 2012 1:32 am

  2. chewie

    Nice article, but I felt you were far too kind to Vic Fangio who called an idiotic defense in the fourth quarter. Rushing three and dropping everyone back in a zone simply does not work against the Patriots.

    December 17th, 2012 1:36 am

  3. K.G.

    I think that the Pats took the 49ers lightly after their solid defeat of the Texans last week…If the 49ers, & Pats meet up again, the Pats will know that they are in for a dog fight for all 4 quaters…LOL!

    December 17th, 2012 3:29 am

  4. Nancy R

    I agree Lowell, it was an epic game. But I am wondering why the 49ers Defense suddently sucked in the second half. Why did they stop playing man to man? They had beleaguered Brady and his offense in the first half. In the second half you could almost see the look of relief on Brady’s face; no defense was getting to him. He was like a guy who had been out in a fierce storm but suddenly found himself in the candy shop and he just kept pocketing more free candy. Where was the defense? If the Niners changed their strategy at the half (which was dumb because it was working)and the new strategy clearly wasn’t working why didn’t they change back before Brady marched down the field for three touchdowns? I’m baffled. But Colin Kaepernick kept his cool once it was tied up and it made my heart soar to see those long touchdown passes. Coach listened to our heartfelt desire for a Kaep offense. Reminded me of Warner and Fitzgerald. That’s raw talent. Perfectly placed long touchdown passes. I watch football for those moments.

    December 17th, 2012 7:24 am

  5. Dennis

    I thought Kaepernick played a great game, fumbles and interception aside. He did do things Alex could not do. Having said that and not to take anything away from the win but clearly the ball bounced our way on both sides of the line the entire game. We are going to have to play better if we want to beat this team in the Super Bowl.

    December 17th, 2012 7:59 am

  6. Shane

    I admit when I’m I’m wrong- I was wrong on Kaepernick. I thought in big games like this he’d make big plays but make mistakes that would hurt the team. I thought he was rushed in a year early. Nope! If the Niners don’t make the Super Bowl it won’t be because Kaep is under center instead of Alex.

    December 17th, 2012 8:16 am

  7. Mark M

    Nicely put. That was the game of the year. We just announced that we are the team to beat.

    December 17th, 2012 8:32 am

  8. dharte


    Curious of your take. It wasn’t a great game (way too many errors by both teams) but it was a remarkable battle. And Kaepernick showed poise to overcome four fumbles (someone just has to teach the kid to take a snap before the playoffs…) and the one bad interception. He clearly has great mental toughness.

    It’s December, not January, but the combination of moxie and accuracy, as well as the obvious elite athletic ability, means the kid deserves his shot. These playoffs will be fascinating to watch…boom or bust.

    I still don’t think he’ll win it all, especially if he has to go on the road in a playoff game–those four fumbles were unbelievably frustrating to watch from a player this talented–but Harbaugh is rolling the dice on talent, regardless of experience, and Kaepernick may well become something very special. If Harbaugh is right this year, such a gamble for a championship would equal any of Walsh’s individual titles for coaching savvy and guts.

    In terms of the defense: they went vanilla because they were injured. Obviously Justin Smith was out the entire second half, and Aldon Smith looked like he was playing in great pain (and with only one arm). They’ll need better luck and health to have any chance next month. But I don’t think you can blame Fangio. They’re defensive weakness all year has been depth in the defensive front seven, particularly on the line.

    December 17th, 2012 8:35 am

  9. Steve the cat rescuer

    Reiterate dharte’s comment about the defense. As soon as Justin Smith went out they were picked apart by Brady. Fangio had to make adjustments to compensate for his absence. Whether Aldon was ineffective because he was hurting or neutralized because the Pats no longer had to double team Justin is moot – the Niners need both to have a realistic chance to reach the Super Bowl. But as I posted last night, I think Gore is the MVP. Some of his runs last night were superhuman!

    December 17th, 2012 9:38 am

  10. mbabco

    Some thoughts.

    Perhaps, Lowell, it was a little early awhile back to write off the 2011 draft? That kickoff return by James set up the win and he’s playing quite well. And the fact that the 49ers are the #2 NFC playoff seed at this point argues for the fact that they didn’t need this draft for immediate help and that they drafted largely for the future so we need to hold-off on judging Jenkins at this point.

    Lots of us (me too) like to blame Roman for his play-calling, which often seems inexplicably conservative. Don’t we have to give him a little bit of credit, when the offense scores 5 TDs? Don’t we have to admit that sometimes his play-calling is really brilliant?

    And maybe the criticisms of Roman and of Fangio for his switching to zone defenses in this game are off-base because we don’t have enough information. It’s possible that Harbaugh is the one setting the tone and overseeing what we are criticizing. Not enough information. Maybe Roman, left to himself, would be brilliant all game long.

    Interesting how much better Aldon Smith seems to play when Justin Smith is in. Of course, AS’s arm injury could have affected him; he’s just very much more effective with that second Smith in there.

    December 17th, 2012 10:18 am

  11. chewie

    I disagree with everyone who is saying that the Niners went to zone only when J. Smith went out, its not true. Smith went out in early in the third and the Niners went zone in the fourth. The Niners went zone because Fangio tightened up and started playing scared.

    December 17th, 2012 11:50 am

  12. lameduck

    What does “Negotiate an East Coast night under a dead lead sky” mean? Play with their eyes closed?
    The Pat’s didn’t have Gronkowski but who knows who will be injured if they meet again. The Niners had their share of injuries as well.

    Nice save of the early writing of the article…Danny Woodhead had a tremendous game, making the most out of Ridley’s struggles. He was on TV a lot, acting the cheerleader and pumping up his teammates to comeback.

    December 17th, 2012 12:42 pm

  13. Stan

    The only 49er fault..and its been a Harbaugh regime trait. When they get a jump on the other team? They take their foot off of the other guys neck.
    Is it Jim overcompensating for a rub it in reputation?

    The positive of course, is that nearly every game the 49ers are the one with size 16 boots on the other guys neck.

    December 17th, 2012 5:34 pm

  14. Stan

    My worst critical post ever was above. ” We don’t win them all by enough.”

    December 17th, 2012 6:28 pm

  15. Jumbo Shrimp

    Hey Mr, Cohn
    Can u ask Coach Harbaugh why they didn’t keep up the offensive gameplan that worked so well throughout the first half in the second half, or all game long for that matter? I know he likes you and will really listen to your questions, so maybe you can ask him why he hasn’t ordered Roman to draw up the aggressive passing game every game this year. They were still able to run for 180 yards, and success in the pass game begets success in the run game. They lost against the Rams because of a stupid gameplan and will undoubtedly go back to the conservative planning against the Seahawks. Why, I ask? Why? Ray Ratto said tonight on the radio that Harbaugh is definitely not the type of guy to take his foot off the pedal, but that’s ridiculous given the team’s average margin of victory over the last two seasons. Sure they’re winning, but games come too close to the wire for comfort. And it’s not like they’re incapable. Sure, it’s a helluva lot easier to do this with a laser accurate rocket arm Colin, but that just begs the question, why not with him? Can you do that for us Mr, Cohn? Please?

    December 17th, 2012 8:09 pm

  16. Nancy R

    Thanks everybody for explaining about the Smith Bros injuries and helping me figure out what happened to the Defense in the 2nd half. I agree there should be a bold offence; The Super Bowl doesn’t tolerate any pussy footing around. “Dead lead” sky? I liked the image…it rhymes plus it reminds me of when I go outside at night and its extremely cold and there are no stars and one feels the extreme darkness and heaviness of the atmosphere. We had one of those last night here in Missouri. I could barely see my white rabbits when I went outside to feed them it was so dark. By the way, gimme 5 for the two Missouri boys ratcheting up the defense – Justin and Aldon Smith!

    December 18th, 2012 4:28 am

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