The 49ers season may be over, but Kyle Shanahan still sees much to be playing for in Sunday's season finale against the Seattle Seahawks.
The 6-9 49ers have been removed from playoff contention since their Week 15 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, however, there is one more record the 49ers are eyeing before closing the door on 2020.
"I would love to have the best record in the division, at least," Shanahan said on Wednesday. "I know we're disappointed with our record, but I think we have a chance here to be the only team in the West with a winning record if we can win this weekend. And I think that's a lot to play for."
Heading into Sunday, the 49ers are tied with their Week 17 opponent with a 3-2 record. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams are tied sitting at 2-3 heading into their final meeting of the season.
While there are no moral victories in the 49ers disappointing season, Shanahan believes a victory on Sunday has everything to do with showing who this team is, and can be, heading into 2021.
"I think it means a lot to our guys and I think that has everything to do with, not just this year, but also showing who you are heading into next year," the head coach added.
Expectations were high for San Francisco in 2020 coming off of their emphatic Super Bowl run, as many pundits had the 49ers favored to return atop of the NFC. An early string of unfortunate injuries to key players, COVID-19 outbreaks, wildfires, aircraft mechanical issues and a sudden relocation are just a few events that played a significant role in the 49ers shortcomings.
Despite the series of snags, the 49ers still have a chance to play spoiler again. Last week, San Francisco delivered a blow to their neighbor's postseason hopes following the 20-12 win over the Cardinals, removing Arizona from the final spot in the NFC playoff picture.
As for the Seahawks, Seattle currently holds the third seed in the conference with an outside chance to clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC and secure a first-round bye. It would take some help from a few NFC counterparts, but it begins with the result of Sunday's matchup against the 49ers.
San Francisco enters Sunday's contest shorthanded and will be without several of their offensive starters against a resurgent Seahawks defense. Receivers Brandon Aiyuk (high-ankle) and Deebo Samuel (hamstring) are set to miss Sunday's matchup. Left tackle Trent Williams (elbow), who has been regarded as the top left tackle in the league in his first year in San Francisco, is also ruled out against Seattle.
Still, the messaging remains the same. There's a lot of pride amongst the 49ers locker room. And despite the season coming to a close, San Francisco looks to keep teams on notice.
"I don't see it as football's over after this week. Our season is, but it allows us to stop and reset and to start it back up again," Shanahan added. "Yeah, we've got a lot of guys out. They're playing for everything. People don't think that we're playing for that much, but I always think you're playing for everything. You can say a lot, but one thing that's cool about football is you are what you put on tape. I think our guys have got a lot of pride and I think it's very important that what they put on tape."