Around the NFL

San Francisco 49ers send Jim Harbaugh off in style

The San Francisco 49ers gave coach Jim Harbaugh a proper sendoff Sunday, sending the Arizona Cardinals to a 20-17 in the regular-season finale. Here's what we learned:

  1. If this was the last of Harbaugh and Frank Gore in San Francisco, they went out in style. Harbaugh will finish his 49ers career with a 44-19-1 record and three trips to the NFC Championship game. Gore went over 11,000 rushing yards in his career on Sunday, churning out 144 on 25 carries. His best two performances of the season came in the final two games.
  1. The Cardinals' fortunes rose and fell with Ryan Lindley, which is apropos for their December of quarterback woes. Lindley opened the game and closed out the first half with the two most impressive drives of his career, finding Michael Floyd for touchdowns on both. The rest of the game was a nightmare, with Lindley exhibiting happy feet, staring down receivers and being intercepted three times. This is a proud, well-coached team being held hostage by the sport's most important position. There is no remedy on the horizon.
  1. Unthinkable a month ago, the Cardinals will travel to Carolina as underdogs against a team with four fewer wins. The Panthers are one of the league's hottest teams, having won four straight behind an improved defense and rushing attack. Arizona, meanwhile, has lost in two a row with a previously stout defense having allowed an average of 496 yards to the Seahawks and 49ers the past two weeks.

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