George Kittle: 3 reasons 49ers TE is off to a slow start in 2021
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: 49ers inconsistent offense hinders George Kittle
Football is arguably the most hand-in-glove team sport out there, and so many different factors and X-factors will have a say in how well any given player might perform.
Jimmy Garoppolo and, to a lesser extent, Trey Lance are still targeting Kittle, as the tight end ranks No. 2 in targets with 28 behind Deebo Samuel’s 43. Yet Kittle has only been able to haul in 68 percent of those targets, which isn’t terrible in of itself but not suggesting he’s been the No. 1 option.
Plus, in the two games of four this season in which the Niners offense has come up flat, Weeks 2 and 4, Kittle’s receiving numbers have taken a hit:
- Week 2 @ Philadelphia Eagles: Four catches, 17 yards
- Week 4 vs. Seattle Seahawks: Four catches, 40 yards
San Francisco scored 17 total points in Week 2, and the offense subsequently went flat after an opening touchdown drive in Week 4 before Lance and a desperate come-from-behind offense made things interesting in the second half versus Seattle.
Read More: George Kittle can help Trey Lance transition into 49ers starter
It might be hard to truly link Kittle’s down games with the ones the entire 49ers offense has struggled in. But there could be an identifiable correlation there.
Either way, the Niners will need Kittle just as much as ever before, especially in the transition from Garoppolo to Lance and as a potent No. 1 offensive weapon.