ATLANTA — It was one of the great wild finishes of the NFL season (especially if you had the over) as the Falcons stunned the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Atlanta still won't make the playoffs, but pulling off a last-second win over a Super Bowl contending team, on the road and against former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan provides a deeply satisfying moment in the middle of an otherwise disappointing year.
Here's how national media are covering the victory, with a lot of speculation about how it impacts coach Dan Quinn's job security:
- Vaughn McClure, ESPN: Win "could save Dan Quinn's job." It was just a few weeks ago that it was widely assumed Quinn would be fired any minute. Now, here we are, Atlanta has gone 4-2 in their last six, and not only does it seem Quinn will at least finish the season, but maybe even stick around for next year. If Quinn is still around next year, McClure writes, he'll have Julio Jones to thank for it.
- Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated: "In fewer than four minutes, Dan Quinn went from a forgotten coach to one admirably battling the perception that he won't be working in Atlanta a few weeks from now." Orr's piece is mostly about officiating, but he includes that line toward the end, reinforcing the sense that Quinn has a chance to keep his job after all.
- Matthew Tabeek, atlantafalcons.com: "This right here though – this team, the way they’re playing right now – is the team I expected to see in 2019 when we were trying to set reasonable expectations." The Falcons have played like a playoff team for a few weeks now, and Tabeek writes they've shown "they can be a very good team that's capable of beating any team in this league." If only it weren't for that 1-7 start.
- Darin Gantt, NBC Sports Pro Football Talk: More talk of Dan Quinn redeeming himself this season, under the headline, "Falcons hope late run saves Dan Quinn's job." Gantt writes, "After the Falcons beat the 49ers to improve to 4-2 over the second half of the season (after a 1-7 start), Quinn said he’s grateful for the work his players are doing."
- Riley McAtee, The Ringer: "The 49ers and Seahawks are locked in a battle for the ages. We have the Falcons to thank." This story is mostly about the playoff implications of the Niners losing, but The Ringer's McAtee gives a little tip of the cap to Atlanta for playing spoiler.
- Dave Holcomb, Sports Illustrated: Holcomb also covers Quinn's job status, writing that "it's clear that Quinn hasn't lost the locker room" and this latest win "ensured one thing - Quinn's job status will be debated over the next two weeks."
- Dave Choate, The Falcoholic: The SB Nation writer is the only one to rain on the Quinn-could-actually-stay parade, wriiting: "Ultimately, this win doesn’t fix a thing, and while I suggested in the heat of the moment after the game that it’ll be part of the evaluation for coaches and players in the offseason, I don’t think it saves Dan Quinn’s job."