SF 49ers: George Kittle loses single-season record to Travis Kelce
By Peter Panacy
SF 49ers tight end George Kittle just saw his single-season record for receiving yards for a tight end go to the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.
SF 49ers tight end George Kittle is no longer the NFL’s record holder for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season.
That honor now belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce.
Kelce was closing in on Kittle’s mark of 1,377 yards, set back in 2018, with the Chiefs facing off against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 15. Entering that game, Kelce had 1,318 yards already and notched seven more receptions for 98 yards in Kansas City’s 17-14 win over Atlanta, bringing his season total to 1,416 with one more game left to play this year.
Kittle was quick to congratulate his positional rival after the achievement:
Kelce, of course, owned the single-season record back in 2018, albeit briefly.
In Week 17 that year, the Chiefs tight end finished the season with 1,336 receiving yards, breaking the previous record held by now-Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski back when he was with the New England Patriots in 2012.
Yet that record stood for only a handful of hours, as Kittle’s nine-catch, 149-yard effort gave him the record.
And he broke it on that memorable 43-yard touchdown in the SF 49ers’ 48-32 loss to the LA Rams to end the regular season.
Of course, one can cite Kansas City’s top-ranked offense in 2020 as a prime reason why Kelce broke the record. One can only wonder what Kittle’s 2020 numbers would have been like if the Niners boated a top-end offense and if he had avoided the broken bone in his foot suffered back in Week 8, which held him out of six games this season.
But that’s a “what if?” scenario, and it’s silly to make much of an argument based on that alone.
What remains up for debate, however, is who holds the “best tight end” accolade, which is clearly down to both Kittle and Kelce. Kelce’s recent record-setting season puts him slightly ahead in some analysts’ minds, although others would point out how Kittle is much more rounded a player, prolific in both the pass-catching game and as one of the league’s best blockers.
It’s likely that argument won’t end anytime soon, but there’s no argument about the entertainment value both Kelce and Kittle have provided to their respective fanbases in recent years.