Here is the opening to my column about the embarrassment in Seattle:

SEATTLE — And we’re supposed to believe the 49ers are a Super Bowl Contender?

That 42-13 demolition by the Seahawks was as complete a meltdown as you’ll see, a meltdown involving a fatal loss of composure, the wheels coming off, the team losing its cool, the full catastrophe.

A metaphor for the whole bad thing — not the cause, a metaphor — occurred near the end of the monstrosity. Offensive lineman Anthony Davis pointlessly went after a Seahawk and knocked him around and got called for a 15-yard penalty. When asked about it later, he resorted to profanity. That’s the kind of day it was for the Niners.

It is hard to think this team is Super Bowl material.

To read the full column, click here.

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  1. flip3

    What this team really needs is a ball-control QB that can effectively hit the check-down man, slowly marching down the field, so that the defensive line (which does not substitute much) can stay off the field as much as possible.

    December 24th, 2012 12:39 am

  2. dharte


    You’re ignoring the obvious. Kaepernick was not ready, the switch was a foolish idea from the start, and now the kid looks rattled; he was completely outplayed by a rookie, a 3rd round draft choice.

    This season will go up in flames and the predictable excuses will all be hollow. Harbaugh’s arrogance, egotism and complete ignorance of NFL history is the real story. No team has ever won with this sort of switch this late in a season.

    So he deserves your scorn, but for very different reasons.

    And now the two best players on this team, Justin Smith and Frank Gore, will be another year older, and very near the end of their careers, with a decline in performance inevitable. And the 49ers have no one ready to step in and star.

    What a fiasco. Very Greek, actually. So why don’t you start calling our boy genius Jim Hubris?

    December 24th, 2012 12:55 am

  3. Fudgehammer

    So last week was Harbaugh on the Belichick level since he beat him? And you’re questioning if he is on the Carroll level despite a career record against of 5-2 against him? Bill Walsh occasionally lost games to guys like Ray Malavasi and Leeman Bennett. Did that mean that they were at Walsh’s level for a time? Hey, it was a bad night in Seattle and nothing went right for the 49ers. It happened to some great Walsh teams too. I remember a particularly ugly game on MNF in Chicago in 1988, when the Niners could not do a thing against the Bears and looked completely outclassed, then later destroyed them in the playoffs. Let’s not overreact, even if you’re (apparently) paid to do it.

    December 24th, 2012 1:35 am

  4. K.G.

    Seesh the look on Harbaugh’s face when the 49ers mess up always has this caption to me…”Please pass me the Pepto Bismol.

    December 24th, 2012 3:11 am

  5. Johnc

    I am a little confused by your article. Granted the Niners stunk and granted they don’t look like a playoff team anymore. Denver, Green Bay, Atlanta, Seahawkes all look like they would wipe up the Niners now.
    What confuses me is that the offensive coordinator stinks…the plays he calls in the red zone don’t work. They have no design to get someone free as the Seahawkes demonstrated or New England in the second half last week. This goes back to last year in the good old days with Alex Smith. I think I was too harsh on him because the OC might have been the problem all along in the red zone.
    The defense is average now..no longer elite….they can be run on and passed on.
    What is Harbaugh’s role as head coach? He needs to replace Roman and get his team ready. They do not seem to be able to adjust. I felt the Niners would lose because the Seahawks were hungry and much improved. Besides the betting line in Vegas picked the Seahawks.

    December 24th, 2012 3:28 am

  6. lameduck

    Maybe it was a west coast offense loss. He’s saving the good stuff for the post season…Yeah right.

    The injuries are more damaging than the loss. Some momentum will be gathered with a win against the hapless Cards. Smith for Fitzgerald? Yeah right…

    December 24th, 2012 3:35 am

  7. lameduck

    He’s the best coach in the York era. He is a very good coach, but isn’t elite until he wins the SB.

    Andy Reid level? Whisenhunt? Is he at the same level as John?

    Perhaps there should be a coach rating system like the QB rating system so we could say oh sure the team loses but boy that coaching was great?

    December 24th, 2012 3:49 am

  8. KezarMike

    Lowell, you are completely over-reacting here. OF COURSE, Harbaugh is a great coach. He came to a team which had been losing for almost a decade (often in mind numbing fashion) and INSTANTLY turned it into a Super Bowl contender. THAT my friend is GREAT coaching.

    You seem to have lost perspective or at least forgotten some of the Walsh days. In the 1986 playoffs, I believe the 49ers lost to the Giants, 49-3 or somesuch. The next year, we were the number one seed and lost badly at home to the Vikings in the playoffs in “the fizzle in the drizzle.” The next year, remember after the Cards came back from 23-0 to beat the 49ers? Montana re-gained his job the next week and the offense went absolutely nowhere, constantly under pressure and sacked, believe the Raiders beat us 9-3. 49ers were then 6-5. Team’s chances had apparently collapsed, Walsh told Eddie he was through. Then the winning streak started and the team came out of the ashes to be SB champions. (And I;m not even mentioning Walsh’s first two years, I’m talking the SB years, some big losses too). Of course during the 1994 championship year, there was the huge loss to Philly and Mooch’s first game was a complete disaster in all respects and then the team took off. So, there was a big loss. Let’s see how the rest of the season goes. And if we lose? So, let’s see what happens next year. Harbaugh has been tremendous for this team. Peyton Manning lost a lot of big playoff games before he finally even got into a SB. Lowell,you’ve been at this too long to write a “bomb thrower” column, just to get reactions. It huts your credability.And I’m a big fan of yours as you know.

    December 24th, 2012 5:41 am

  9. KezarMike

    “Hurts” your credibility, not “huts” it! Missed that typo. One thing Bill Walsh used to mention is that there IS another team out there, you know. Maybe THEY play great ball once in a while. They can win too you know and sometimes kill their opponent (which might be the 49ers). Team is in the playoffs, so we’ll see what happens. A big difference from before Harbaugh became coach. Right now Green Bay and Seattle are playing the best ball, and Washington is hot too. But it could all change on any Sunday as all we sports fan should be very well aware of.

    December 24th, 2012 5:47 am

  10. Vijay

    I’m not a niner fan but I do think your column is a bit harsh, Lowell. Harbaugh has had two double digit winning seasons and I don’t think he is overrated. His team got outplayed and out coached yesterday. Gotta see how he bounces back. The fact that he hasn’t had two back to back losses shows he has his team ready to play after a L and that’s a sign of a good coach.

    December 24th, 2012 7:20 am

  11. Neal

    Lowell, we know that you don’t like JH, that has been well documented, by the way we got our ass kicked in a couple of games in 1994, where Steve Young was driven to the ground, many times, we also won a Super bowl, your no beter then a fair weather fan, who lives in the moment. This is not your best work, also if the Niners win the Super Bowl, which they still can, this column becomes a joke.You could of waited till the season is over to write your JH obit.

    December 24th, 2012 7:45 am

  12. Alex Smith For President

    A fellow named Mr. Everything commented that the team shriveled. This is something which is done incrementally. Someone socks you and you flinch. Then you punch back, right Coach? But if you are struck repeatedly and you continue to flinch …tell us a little more about your boy Colin. Despite all that manly ink on his arm, Kaep is cutting the legs out from under your “football fight” rhetoric. It is only a fight if you fight back. How many times has YOUR TEAM fallen behind and then lost? Please advise or start counterpunching.

    December 24th, 2012 8:10 am

  13. Stan

    Eh.pre season pickers said the 49ers would have a 10-6,maybe 11-5 record. Nobody counted on another 13-3. And so far..right on. What this proves is that the 49ers best player is the “D”.. Alex,CK, splitting hairs of quality. One is better at this,the other better at dat..etc.
    We also know its not Roman who devises a winning game plan..its Fangio. When he’s on, he sinks his fangs into ya. Aldon and Justin are the canines…

    December 24th, 2012 8:39 am

  14. mbabco

    Lowell, a win would not have guaranteed a bye for the 49ers. Had they beat Seattle, a 49ers loss coupled with a Green Bay win next week would have given Green Bay the bye. The 49ers could still get the bye if they win next week (not a given after this beat-downs) and Green Bay loses to Minnesota (a possibility).

    December 24th, 2012 8:58 am

  15. Streetglide

    Bet you’re a happy camper now Lowell-san…

    December 24th, 2012 9:13 am

  16. Dennis

    You puzzle me sometimes. Do you say this stuff to be provocative or do you actually believe it? I find it very difficult to arrive at any conclusions after one game. I thought the significance of the win in New England was way over blown and I think you are doing the same with this loss in Seattle.

    The Seahawks look very good right now and maybe the hottest team in the NFL. But if the 49ers win next Sunday Harbaugh wins the division for the 2nd year in a row – something Carrol has never done. With that in mind, how you can write a column suggesting that Carrol is at a higher level of coaching than Harbaugh based on one game seems pretty naïve for a person of your distinguished career.

    December 24th, 2012 9:13 am

  17. Dave T

    The NFL is such a Jekyle and Hyde this season where from week to week you just do not know. The Niners are not unlike the Giants, Patriots, Texans, Ravens, Falcons, etc. But I will say that with a home game on the line and a young virtually unexperienced QB at the helm, the Niners did not just lose, they got their collective backsides handed to them. And that is what should concern this fan base. We can debate whether or not the QB change should have happened, we can argue if the Smith injury changed it, or the loss of Davis was an issue. But fact is, they were so beaten in every phase of the game last night, there should be serious concern. They have a week to right themselves to assure a home game in the playoffs and if they play like they did last night, that will itself be a challenge.

    December 24th, 2012 9:24 am

  18. Ben

    i must agree with many of the other commentors on this one — your harbaugh stance is giving me whiplash. that said, the
    “if you’re jim harbaugh — and i know someone who is…” bit was a great line.

    December 24th, 2012 9:55 am

  19. Steve the cat rescuer

    So less than 48 hours after heaping praise on Harbaugh you place him beneath Leslie Frazier on your best coaches in the NFL list. He certainly isn’t anywhere near the upper echelon, but Leslie Frazier? Yesterday’s loss was 100% predictable, but the extent of it was not. I was amazed that the Niners closed as one point favorites – that was free money. The Niners lost every phase of the game. And the loss can be traced to all the way back to Kap replacing Smith. Okay, go ahead, call me a Smither. What has Kap really done? Played well enough to tie St. Louis after Smith was concussed without the opponent having any film study on him. Beat Chicago on a Monday night with Jason Campbell at QB, a beat up Bears defense and still no film. Won in New Orleans thanks to the defense. Lost to St Louis in a pathetic performance (Fisher had enough film on him to properly prepare). Lackluster win against Miami, again thanks to the defense. Played his best game in the win against New England. Was destroyed by Seattle. Kap’s inability to get the plays off on time after six games is troubling; he seems to call an audible on every other play. Confused? Bad coaching? Trying to emulate Peyton Manning? Now the defense is running on fumes. I’m not ready to say that the Niners would have gone to the Super Bowl with Smith, but I believe they lost any chance when they replaced him when they did with Kaepernick. Are they one and done in the playoffs? Depends on who they play, but there are a lot of teams that are peaking and appear to be better.

    December 24th, 2012 10:16 am

  20. mike davis

    This literally has to be the dumbest thing I have read in a really long time. The 49ers were the laughing stock of the NFL for 9 years, Harbaugh took a 6-10 team, and if they win next Sunday, will claim consecutive division titles for the first time since 1992-95. On top of that since 1995 they have only won two division titles, 97 and 02. If you apply this scenario every coach is a failure except Vince Lombardi and John Wooden. A reasonable person would come to the conclusion that when they won all of their titles it was a completely different time period and could not be repeated in the current environment. The last time the 49ers had a knee jerk reaction after a coach won the division and fired him they spent a decade in mediocrity. In one of your examples you mentioned that Jeff Fisher is a better coach than Harbaugh although, after next Sunday, Harbaugh will have won two division titles in two years and Fisher will have won three division titles in 18 years of coaching. Do you really believe what you write or are you the Rush Limbaugh/Keith Olberman of the sports world.

    December 24th, 2012 10:27 am

  21. Tommy CostaRica

    You can’t get too high on a big win like we had last week and you can’t get too low on a a$$ kicking like we got last night. I would of liked to have seen Smith thrown back in there, but he probably would of just run around and got sacked a bunch of times. He might of been better at the line with all the noise.

    December 24th, 2012 11:14 am

  22. Jimmy

    Remember Harbaugh’s whole Chicago train metaphor last week? Well, they ran out and got hit by the train this week. This time the Seattle train. Starting to look like the Super Bowl train doesn’t stop in San Francisco this year.

    December 24th, 2012 11:37 am

  23. AES*

    Mr. Cohn, is there a limit on words used by your posters?
    I’ve tried repeatedly to respond and have been cut-off in mid sentence thereby losing all content.

    December 24th, 2012 11:41 am

  24. B-Rad

    Let me make you feel better:

    Georgia Tech -222
    Cumberland U. – 0

    Every single Niner was badly outplayed by whoever he was up against.

    Vernon Davis gets blown up by a perfectly legal, but devastating, tackle,
    is staggering off the field with a concussion and Crabtree comes up and
    slaps him in the back of the helmet.

    Sometimes it’s just not your day.

    December 24th, 2012 12:11 pm

  25. Johnc

    Lowell, the game aside, Nancy and I look forward to your articles which are so rich in imagery and humorous.
    We admire your talent.
    Hope you get over the nasty cold soon. Merry Christmas.

    December 24th, 2012 12:59 pm

  26. Arizona Niner Fan

    Whoa there son…Take a deep breath. The highs are never as high as we think nor are the lows that low. It was a game..thats all. With the excaption probably of a first round bye everything we want is still there for the taking. Write that column when the derby is over not when the horses are just doing the warm-ups. Lets see where it all ends up and how it looks after the balls and helmets are packed away for the year.

    December 24th, 2012 2:43 pm

  27. KezarMike

    Lombardi’s Redskin team only won 7 games. That BUM!!!!!!!!

    December 24th, 2012 3:30 pm

  28. Stan

    You guys don’t get the Lowell genius. I do. What he’s doing is analyzing Harbaugh on several layers. His strengths as in leadership,and his faults..like the NFL’s best coaches get the best of him. Like that.

    And AES..what you have to is hit “stop loading”…and even though it LOOKS as if you post has been erased..its not. After hitting stop loading,hit the “go back” arrow on the browser. And all you write is there to add more. I promise you it works.
    It might take practice..if you hit “go back” a millisecond to long,you go back TWO pages…then it is gone.

    December 24th, 2012 3:58 pm

  29. mendozaline

    I completely agree with your Tuesday column where you said “What is the cause of the big plummet from the sky? Actually, who is the root cause? Harbaugh is.”
    I completely disagree with your Saturday column where you said
    “… I’m praising Harbaugh for his football vision and for his unwavering resolve. Those are enormous benefits in a head football coach.”

    Oh wait. I got it backward. I agree with Saturday and disagree with Tuesday…I think.

    Note to AES*… one can type a comment into a text file and then copy and paste it into
    the comment box on the blog webpage. Hope that helps.

    December 24th, 2012 4:01 pm

  30. john

    i love the cohn head. Praises the niners and says they will beat seatle and heaps lavish praise on harbaugh and his handling of alex smith. The line of the century and one that says @#*$you cohn is when kaep in yesterdays post game presser tells cohn youd have to ask a specific question for that. Priceless. I heard silence. Something this old man should do more of

    December 24th, 2012 4:29 pm

  31. chris

    AES*………there’s not a limit to words I dont think, Lowells blog page just tends to refresh sometimes and wipes everything clean…….try using Windows notepad in the program/accesories column..then cut and past it here……..

    December 24th, 2012 5:28 pm

  32. chris

    Totally agree with Lowell on this one. And the way Harbaough runs his team, these kind of butt wuppings will always happen against hot teams. And also he’s putting his players at risk by creating an arrogant team that tauntsa their opponent. When you hit a player like Whitner did vs. the Saints in the playoffs last year, then other teams have to do the same to beat you. Vernon and Mario got beat up because of that. Harbaughs Niners remind me of Mike Tyson’s approach to a boxing match, and Sunday Night, Seattle was Buster Douglas.

    December 24th, 2012 5:32 pm

  33. Peter T

    The 49ers spirit was broken when the quarterback change happened. Continue to bet on the opposing team and take the points. SF does not get past round two in the playoffs. Other teams are rising while the 49ers star dims. The change was not right at the time it was done and how it was done.

    December 24th, 2012 6:25 pm

  34. Tommy CostaRica

    Stan you are now “Stan the Tech Man” very good help on browser tips. And yes MERRY CHRISTMAS to your bad self Lowell and all your family! Thank you for the columns and the opportunity to blog and read the comments of your readership who I think is a step above the average. Y Feliz Ano Neuvo!!!!!!

    December 24th, 2012 6:29 pm

  35. Streetglide

    Didn’t know you had a cold Lowell-san. That explains a lot. Get well soon. In the meantime, step away from the Royal and have a cup of eggnog…;;;

    December 24th, 2012 6:59 pm

  36. dharte


    Just admit you were wrong about Kaepernick THIS year?

    The truth will set you free.

    December 24th, 2012 9:51 pm

  37. Steve the cat rescuer

    Make that Strauss eggnog – nothing’s better.

    December 25th, 2012 12:29 am

  38. Eric Janssen

    Nothing is broken that can’t be fixed. You will see the grit that makes greatness. Don’t ever count this team out. They are the San Francisco Forty Niners. And we WANT our scalps!

    December 25th, 2012 8:50 am

  39. Stan

    Thanks Tommy,appreciate that.

    I wish Comcast wold take my tech advice and give the media a mic. I didn’t hear a thing of Lowell’s question..just CK talking to something I had no idea of what.
    Its just idiotic and stupid there is no overhead boom or a moderator to pass the mic around. Why,its almost like the 49ers dont want the questions to be heard or give a voice to the media with Comcast not objecting..cahoots?
    Merry Christmas.
    pa,I knew I couldn’t go a day…just a cohnzohn addict..

    December 25th, 2012 12:29 pm

  40. Stan

    I meant to write ps. But,pa as it turns out, is funnier. Ask ma.

    December 25th, 2012 1:07 pm

  41. Mark M

    massive over reaction and hatchet job in my opinion. I truly don’t understand this. You did the same thing with the Baltimore game last year and it turned out to be a largely meaningless loss.

    December 25th, 2012 6:39 pm

  42. Nancy R

    1. Perhaps this is less about Jim Harbaugh and more about Pete Carroll. I watched the Seattle Seahawks dart, dance and dive down the field. Pete Carroll threw the chess players off the board and reinvented the game; a new paradigm for football. Have you noticed everyone is getting beat like 50 to zip? It seemed like the Seahawks looked at every ounce of the game of football and refashioned it in their fashion. 2. Great players are great because they are rare. Justin Smith II isn’t sitting on the sidelines twittling his thumbs. When you lose a great player there isn’t great player II just hanging out on the sidelines ready to go. If greatness were so easy greatness wouldn’t be great. 3. Noise. I could barely hear the announcers on TV for all the noise. The noise hurt my ears. Super loud noise can make you crazy. Furthermore, the human ear can be damaged. The NFL needs to set a limit on loudness in stadiums. Teams should not not win because they absolutely cannot hear. Maybe the Seahawks have designed noise free helmets.

    December 26th, 2012 2:31 am

  43. Dave T

    @Nancy- great comments, but I disagre with one thing, the the NFL needs to set a limit on loudness in their stadiums. First, there is no physical way to do so and short of penalizing a team for loudness, which is simply nuts, no way to do it. Second, Seattle is an open air stadium, so that is with no roof. Last, noise IS a HUGE part of home field advantage. That is what you count on and play for in the playoffs and even regular season. And every person in the stadium, players and coaches included have an option, wear ear plugs. It is a choice, whether you take it or not is another question entirely.

    December 26th, 2012 1:09 pm

  44. Jonny Thunder

    Peter T, I agree with your post 100%. The switch was too soon and a bad idea. Lack of patience and lack of planning could mean lack of understanding. The double talk and evasiveness aren’t helping either.

    December 26th, 2012 5:56 pm

  45. Nancy R

    Dave T – I should have phrased my noise comment a little differently – I agree you can never nor should never try to limit crowd noise – that is what we live for!! But I heard that the Seattle Seahawks Stadium was designed specifically to help contain the noise and specifically to enhance the echoing -so I was referring not to the people ( may we all yell at the top of our lungs!!) but to a stadium design that delibertely amps up the noise really high on purpose to the point of almost excruciating loudness- You are right though – we can all wear ear plugs –Thanks!!!

    December 27th, 2012 5:54 am

  46. Nancy R

    Peter T and Johnny Thunder – You guys make me think – Even if Kaep is the better QB Smith is well liked and a leader. Perhaps the sudden QB switch caused a tear in the essential fabric and vitality of the team – an intangible that would be hard to measure but which is felt by the players and can be seen on the field. They like Kaep but he wasn’t ushered in in a gracious manner. I was a big “change to Kaep fan” but you guys may be on to something. I keep wondering why the receivers keep missing passes that seem flung right into their arms!

    December 27th, 2012 6:47 am

  47. Donald

    It’s funny you bring up coughlin. You do realize that same coughlin has been blown out the last 2 weeks right? Or do you not follow football? Not saying harbaugh is on coughlins level yet, but even the best coaches get beat and beat bad. They get out coached. It’s football.

    December 29th, 2012 12:59 am

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