Here is the opening to my column from the 49ers’ victory over the Cardinals:


I admit to being confused by the San Francisco 49ers. They’ve played the entire regular season, and I’m still confused about how good they are. Go figure.

On Sunday, they defeated the Arizona Cardinals, a group of men who, in many respects, resemble an NFL team. So, we give credit to the 49ers for their victory and for other things, too.

By beating the Cardinals, the Niners won the NFC West for the second season in a row. That constitutes a big deal and it shows the Jim Harbaugh regime has brought the team to respectability

To read the entire column, please click here.

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  1. Johnc

    I agree with everthing you said. It is possible that the Niners are not as tough now as they were in the beginning of the season. The air is leaking out of the balloon. If it were not for Kaepernick’s arm then they would not be in the playoffs because the defense and the running game has come back to mediocrity. Have you noticed that most of the big pass plays come from broken plays? Kaepernick has to improvise and being a great athlete he hits recievers getting free after the initial crappy routes drawn up by Roman don’t get anyone free.
    Lastly…I can guarantee that Justin Smith will not be one hundred percent. So the Niners aer stupid to play him with only one good arm. What are they going to do? Shoot him up with massive amounts of pain killers? Not smart.

    December 30th, 2012 10:13 pm

  2. Michael

    Lowell – as an FYI: Patrick Peteraon was just voted as a starter in the 2013 pro bowl. He is no slouch and has had a good year.

    December 30th, 2012 11:25 pm

  3. Ben

    I agree with you 100%. If they come out and have a 1st half like that in the playoffs, it’s over. It seemed to me that one of the big problems was that they were stubborn to the run up the middle, when it was clearly not working. I’m not enough of a football guy to know whether that’s Gore’s fault or the O line… but from a play calling perspective I’d love to see a little more of Lamichael Shrimpy James on the edge, and a little less of Gore getting stuffed up the middle.

    December 31st, 2012 7:39 am

  4. Stan

    The 49ers are what they want to be..maddeningly,they want to be conservative,while wishing they were a offensive dynamo. Its all in the play calling. They change QB’s from the guy who dinks and dunks for a guy who can do more…but coaches ask him to dink and dunk too. Then like a light bulb goes on,the 49er coaches realize they can go vertical.
    That’s the routine. Except for the first drive..then its like a Bill Walsh symphony that builds to a crescendo of long passing. After that- successful or not successful..its sit and wait for the coaching staff to wake up.

    December 31st, 2012 8:03 am

  5. Dennis

    I think all of the teams in the playoff’s are head-scratchers. Nobody is consistently good. So this year it would appear that we are actually going to need to play the games to see who comes out on top. It is just a matter of who is the hottest team. Seattle and Atlanta would be my choice in the NFL and Denver and (fill in the bank) in the AFL.

    December 31st, 2012 9:07 am

  6. Dr. Feelgood

    They’re in the mix, so they have a shot, but the missing are going to be hard to overcome.
    Playing playoff-level teams, you need to bring your best.
    Not bringing Manningham, Kyle Williams, Hunter and a reliable kicker to the playoffs is not a recipe for longevity. Add in limited J Smith and V Davis- yikes!
    The WR situation smacks of last year. Here they are again with one reliable wide-out.
    BUT- they’re in the mix.

    December 31st, 2012 9:24 am

  7. Ralph Melaragno


    You discussed the obvious issues with the Niners: Justin Smith, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, David Akers. All of those players are critical for the playoffs.

    I’d like to offer two more to the list: Greg Roman and Carlos Rogers. You alluded to Roman’s limitations; I think he does such a poor job of planning, play calling, and adjusting to the opponent the Niners are is serious trouble. With Rogers, when he faces a quality quarterback and a talented receiver he often plays badly.

    That makes 6 likely shortcomings. Not a good way to enter the playoffs. The Niners may be I the same category as the Sharks—easy into the post season, quickly out of it.

    December 31st, 2012 10:14 am

  8. Neal

    The Niners are a mixed bag of things, not the most consistent team that has ever played the game, most of the blame I will put on Roman, on a side note Akers was a client in a ponzi scheme, where he lost a significant amount of his retirement money.

    December 31st, 2012 10:15 am

  9. Streetglide

    I enjoy watching the team. It gives me great pleasure…

    December 31st, 2012 10:34 am

  10. LA9er

    In this season, anything can happen. The most feared team for the Niners, the Giants, will be watching on TV. We benched our decent QB who was having a good year for a so called dynamic QB playmaker, who ends up having the same stats, but without the experience who gave away the Rams game.
    The Niners can beat any team in the playoffs. And can also lose to any team in the playoffs. Badly.

    It’s rocky road time.

    December 31st, 2012 11:28 am

  11. Stan

    Monty or Tom Montemayor or whatever he now calls himself hosted the Larry and Garry show on Comcast. I guess you don’t get that with Direct tv Lowell. He looks and sounds like Jon Lovitz’s not gay brother.

    December 31st, 2012 11:35 am

  12. Stan

    Monty or Tim Montamayor,or whatever he calls himself now was on Comcast today Lowell. He looks and sounds like comic Jon Lovitz’s more serious brother.

    December 31st, 2012 12:15 pm

  13. Nancy R

    Let the shrimp scamper and ease back on Gore getting relentlessly clobbered going down the middle. Justin Smith will will his way to great defense in spite of his injury. Free Kaep to sail those inspiring passes to Crabtree (or anyone he likes) to his heart’s content.

    December 31st, 2012 12:35 pm

  14. Dave T

    They are in the mix and have a shot. So that is a good thing. Here is my list of issues this team faces.

    1. Momentum or lack thereof. They do not have it. You can overcome areas of weakness when you have momentum on your side and a belief you can do it anytime and anywhere. Both the Giants and Packers had that the last two years and showed it by winning a title. The Niners have been way too Jekyle and Hyde from week to week.

    2. Injuries to key positions. Like it or not, they have some question marks entering the playoffs. Losing the players they have will be very difficult to replace and in the case of Davis, once you sustain one concussion without proper healing, they can come in rapid succession. Side note: ever notice how much longer it takes NHL players to return to the ice as compared to NFL players to come back to the field? Maybe it is just me, but the NHL seems to have a more stringent protocol, but I could be wrong.

    3. Inexperience at QB. Look, it might be Kap’s second season, and we can argue that there are three rookies in the playoffs as well. But the difference is that all three rookies have more actual NFL playing time than Kap does, by like 2-1. And while that may not seem like much to you and me, just about any NFL player will tell you, the game is so much faster than the college level and just having more time on the field in the NFL makes a difference.

    December 31st, 2012 1:04 pm

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