Raheem Mostert was the offensive standout in the 49ers’ 20-17 loss to the Ravens on Sunday, totaling a career-high 19 carries and 146 yards, but none of that would have been possible without his supporting cast.
Both right tackle Mike McGlinchey and tight end George Kittle were key pieces in coach Kyle Shanahan’s blocking scheme that allowed Mostert the ability to get downfield. According to Pro Football Focus, the right tackle and tight end both had exceptional performances.
McGlinchey earned a career-best 88.9 overall grade, and an 88.4 grade in run blocking while not allowing a quarterback pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo. After shaking the rust off from sitting out four games due to a knee injury, McGlinchey has been steadily improving his game.
“I thought Mike had his best game of the year vs. Green Bay,” Shanahan said on a conference call with Bay Area media Monday. “And then I think he followed that up with his new best game yesterday. I know Mike has been battling through some injuries to get back. I know when he did get back, it takes some time to get back to your old self. But I saw that last week definitely, and I think he only got better this week.”
Kittle, who is known for his blocking ability did not disappoint in the Baltimore rain. He received a 72.9 overall grade from PFF, and a 78.1 run-blocking grade, which is his best of the season.
“That was probably as good as of a run-blocking game in terms of how much a tight end in outside zone can move the edge setters,” Shanahan said. “He dominated in that game.
“Our edges were as good as they have almost ever been and that’s why we were able to put a fast running back in there and just stay on track and just hit the numbers pretty hard. He was very impressive and so was McGlinchey on the edge too.”
One of the most unique traits about Kittle is his pure joy in being a key part of the run-blocking scheme. While the team didn’t do enough to walk away with a win, and Kittle only caught two of his four targets for 17 yards, he takes pride in his contributions that don’t show up on the stat sheet.
“I mean, losing is never fun," Kittle said after the loss. "We play to win the game. I had a great time out there playing football, though. It was awesome. We ran the ball a lot. I had a lot of good blocks with the tackles and ‘Juice’ [Kyle Juszczyk]. Our run game looked good. Unfortunately, we just didn’t do enough to get it done.”
Most of the game Kittle faced off with Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon (6-foot-3, 261 pounds) who is pretty comparable in size to the tight end. Kittle, who weighs a little less at 250 pounds, relished the competition on the edge.
“You kidding?” Kittle said. “That’s how I grade my game -- off the run game. I thought I played pretty well today. I had great battles with 99 all day. He’s a great player. So, that was fun. That was really fun. I’m just looking forward to hopefully getting another opportunity again.”