49ers top play No. 7
In our next top play of 2018, tight end George Kittle outruns an entire defense for the first time in 2018.
Back in Week 4, the Los Angeles Chargers’ defense knew Kittle was fast, but the second-year tight end had yet to be recognized as a true home run hitter. Instead, Kittle was a defensive afterthought on this third-quarter play, as Los Angeles linebacker Kyle Emanuel allowed the tight end to release inside into the Chargers’ secondary untouched.
With the linebackers focused on a late release by the 49ers’ running backs, Kittle found himself uncovered in the open field — and backup quarterback C.J. Beathard quickly hit his favorite receiver in the hole in the zone between Emanuel, cornerback Casey Hayward and single-high safety Jahleel Addae.
What would have been a 30-yard reception by your average NFL tight end turned into a foot race for the pylon, as Kittle put a quick move on Addae before breaking inside toward the left side of the end zone. Unfortunately for the Chargers’ secondary, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end isn’t just a great blocker, he’s also one of the NFL’s fastest players at his position, and a player who can score from anywhere on the field.
No one would lay a hand on Kittle on his 82-yard catch-and-run touchdown, which was the longest play from scrimmage over the first nine weeks of the 2018 season, and the NFL’s longest pass reception of 2018 at that point in the year.
Kittle’s six-catch, 125-yard afternoon was one of many electrifying performances from the tight end during his breakout sophomore campaign: