49ers fans held their breath Sunday when star tight end George Kittle limped to the sideline late in the first half of San Francisco's 24-20 Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium.
With 44 seconds left in the second quarter and the 49ers facing a second-and-4 from the Cardinals' 8-yard line, coach Kyle Shanahan called a screen to Kittle that should have been ticketed for six. But quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's pass sailed, forcing Kittle to leap for the pass. Cardinals safety Budda Baker shed his block and hit Kittle in the knee.
Kittle limped off the field. He returned to the game but didn't look the same and failed to record a catch in the second half. While Kittle looked like a shell of himself in the second half, the star tight end doesn't sound like he plans on missing the 49ers' Week 2 game against the New York Jets.
"Good to go," Kittle texted NFL Media's Mike Silver. "On to New York!"
Kittle posted four catches for 44 yards in the loss as the 49ers' passing offense struggled to get going apart from a 76-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to running back Raheem Mostert.
It took the 49ers nine games to suffer their first loss last season. Banged up and rusty, the 49ers didn't look like the defending NFC champions Sunday in Santa Clara. The offense looked pedestrian and the defense failed to corral and stop Cardinals star quarterback Kyler Murray.
The good news for the 49ers is the Jets are up next. Adam Gase's team was pummeled by the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and should provide a nice bounce-back opportunity for the 49ers.
Kittle sounds like he'll be ready to suit up, but the 49ers shouldn't need a lot out of him to get back to .500.