SF 49ers tight end George Kittle had himself a day in Week 4, setting a new record against the Eagles despite the Niners’ ugly, disjointed loss.
Out of the few things that did, however, tight end George Kittle sure was one of them.
Kittle, after missing two weeks with a sprained knee suffered in the Niners’ 2020 season opener, made his return to the field in Week 4 and surely impressed, hauling in all 15 of his standard targets for a whopping 183 yards and a beautiful over-the-shoulder touchdown grab, which gave San Francisco the lead at the time.
Seriously, it was fun to watch:
“Body feels great,” Kittle said after the game. “Getting tackled 15 times is a lot, but that’s what I’m built for. It felt great to be back out there with the guys. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get it done, so that’s not fun.”
Fortunately, watching Kittle was fun.
Not surprisingly, Kittle ended up being Pro Football Focus‘ best-graded player from the game, earning an elite-level 92.4 game grade for his efforts. About the only blemish on his performance was a dropped two-point conversion target, which didn’t factor into his total targets for the game.
“I feel like even if he’s covered, he’s open,” quarterback Nick Mullens said of Kittle after the signal-caller’s own scuffling effort Sunday night. “That’s what he’s very talented at, yards after catch. He did a great job of that tonight. He had a lot of YAC tonight, I feel like. So, it was awesome to get George back on the field and he definitely did his part.”
Putting it bluntly, Kittle did do everything in his power to will the SF 49ers to victory. Mullens, with his three turnovers, was a primary reason why the Niners find themselves 2-2 on the season instead of 3-1.
Still, according to CBS Sports, no tight end in NFL history had ever put together a 15-catch, 175-yard performance before Sunday night.
A new record.
The 183-yard performance by Kittle put him into another notable category, too, placing him in a tie for the third-fastest player at his position to reach 3,000 receiving yards, doing it in 47 games, putting him alongside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski. Only Mike Ditka and Kellen Winslow rank higher at 45 games.
George Kittle remains SF 49ers’ No. 1 receiving threat
San Francisco has pushed both wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk into the fray, and they each had some notable impacts during the game, the latter recording an impressive leaping touchdown over an Eagles defender on a 38-yard run.
But that doesn’t change the fact Kittle is the SF 49ers’ top offensive threat, although Samuel and Aiyuk flourishing will only help Kittle in deterring the amount of defensive attention he’ll get.
To date, Kittle already has 227 receiving yards, which leads the Niners despite him already missing two games. And it’s a number San Francisco can expect to see increase significantly in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins.
After all, Miami has already surrendered 861 receiving yards to tight ends and five touchdowns.
Perhaps Kittle is in line for yet another big game after dominating in his efforts last Sunday.
True, the loss is what matters most. But at least Kittle put on a show when the 49ers were eagerly awaiting his return after being away with injury.