The All-Pro tight end was the primary reason for Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard’s passing production. Kittle caught all of his 15 targets for 183 yards, which was nearly 61 percent of the team’s 301 receiving yards.
Kittle’s only incomplete came late in the fourth quarter when he couldn’t hold onto a 2-point conversion attempt from Beathard.
Kittle spoke about getting stronger and faster during the offseason, but what Kittle does now, even before the ball is in his hands is impressive. At times, he does not look open when the ball is thrown, but by the time it arrives, he has maneuvered his body to create space to make the catch.
Coach Kyle Shanahan, while disappointed with his offense in the team’s loss, was impressed with Kittle’s first outing after missing the past two game with a sprained knee.
“Just looking at the numbers George had an unbelievable game,” Shanahan said. “Didn’t realize it was like that. He got open a lot and even when he didn’t he didn’t he was able to come down with the catch.
“That’s something George has worked on for a while, and came through today for us in that way.”
Kittle was disappointed in the offense’s overall performance and their inability to get a rhythm going in the run game. He pointed no fingers but instead explained that the offense didn’t play to the best of their ability as they have shown in the past.
Kittle even joked that it was his fault for the low productivity of the wide receivers after his 15 targets. Really, the reason the tight end has so many targets is because he always makes himself open.
“The entire offseason I worked on catching the ball in as many places that I can, running routes with C.J. as many times as I can,” Kittle said. “Just repetition is how you get comfortable making those catches.”