No. 1: George Kittle’s Emergence
Well, this one is pretty obvious.
Tight end George Kittle comes in as the No. 1 49ers storyline in 2018. But that’s what happens when you wind up becoming the first tight end in franchise history to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. And his 1,103 yards on the year ranks second among all tight ends, trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce (1,159).
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Keep this in mind, Kittle has done all this with three separate quarterbacks — Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens, who deserves a small bit of recognition for being a nice little storyline down the stretch too.
Consider this too, from Pro Football Focus:
"As impressive as he’s been overall, Kittle has been nothing short of devastating with the ball in his hands and his numbers after the catch are not just impressive; they’re historically great. In 13 games, Kittle has racked up a colossal 705 yards after the catch, which has smashed the PFF single-season record that was previously held by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who racked up 656 yards after the catch in 2011."
As PFF also pointed out, it’s hard to imagine just where the 49ers offense would be this season without Kittle. San Francisco’s 16th-ranked pass offense has 3,114 yards through Week 14. Kittle’s efforts account for over 35 percent of that total. While it’s an entirely different context, Kelce accounts for just shy of 30 percent of the Chiefs’ passing totals.
Yeah, Kittle has been special and then some for San Francisco.
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