One season into Kyle Shanahan’s tenure in San Francisco, it certainly looked like he had a long road ahead of him to relevance. His team was 6-10 while the Falcons were 10-6 and headed to the playoffs. During a disappointing 2019 for the Falcons, the 49ers were even worse, clocking in at 4-12 thanks to a raft of injuries, including Jimmy Garoppolo’s.
At that time, at least, the Dan Quinn-Kyle Shanahan gulf was still quite wide. Quinn was still well over .500 in his career and Shanny was two years in with not much to show for it, and the hope among those of us here in Atlanta wasn’t so much that he’d fail with the 49ers as the Falcons would not really miss him because of a Quinn-led rebound in 2019. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Quinn and his former handpicked offensive coordinator come into the week three games within .500 for their careers. For Shanahan, that’s thanks to a resurgent 2019 where all the pieces have fallen into place and the offense has become the near-juggernaut Shanahan seems destined to preside over. For Quinn, it’s because a deeply disappointing 4-9 year has dropped him to just three games above .500. If San Francisco wins their remaining three and the Falcons drop their last trio—both of which are quite possible—they’ll each end the year at .500 overall. It was difficult to foresee it winding up here after 2016, and it’s even more difficult to watch what might be Quinn’s final season play out this way.
It says a lot that a victory over the 49ers would be massive for Quinn, perhaps the last salvo in his campaign to keep his job in 2020, while for Shanahan and the 49ers it’d be just another win in a season full of them.