In the aftermath of the San Francisco 49ers' dismantling at the hands of the Colt McCoy-led Arizona Cardinals, all eyes were on Kyle Shanahan. Segments were aired on all your favorite studio shows breaking down Shanahan's record without Jimmy Garoppolo. Articles were written on all your favorite sports blogs questioning if the heralded offensive mind is actually as good as we think he is. These are the consequences of an embarrassing loss at home to a backup quarterback amidst what appears to be yet another lost season.
Monday night's marquee matchup against the Los Angeles Rams seemed like it could be one of the final nails in Shanahan's coffin. No one can deny his offense looks gorgeous when everything is clicking, but some guys just aren't cut out to be head coaches and that's fine. A thorough beatdown at the hands of Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay appeared likely. The noise would have gotten louder as the Niners' playoff chances were effectively extinguished.
But then the game was actually played and viewers were yet again reminded of the Any Given Sunday creed. The Niners beat the tar out of Los Angeles. They gashed the talented defense on the ground, garnering 156 yards on 44 rushing attempts. San Francisco went up by two scores in the first frame and never took its foot off the gas.
And thus Shanahan's seat has cooled. With an easy matchup against the Jags as the next game on the docket, the Niners can roll into Week 12 sitting at 5-5, with a good chance at competing for an NFC wild card. That's not where they were projected to be before the season, but it is way better than where they appeared to be headed after the first month.
A lot of the criticisms about Shanahan remain true, but the narrative has changed. A .500 season isn't what San Francisco wanted out of this year but injuries piling up, again, has left the team with little alternative. But as long as the wheels don't completely fall off, Shanahan's job is secure.