SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers and Seahawks will meet for the second time in three weeks Sunday, and George Kittle definitely is on Pete Carroll's mind.
“Well, he lit it up against Denver [last week],” the Seahawks coach said Wednesday of the San Francisco tight end. “So if we didn’t know, we sure do now. We considered him. He was almost targeted twice as much as everybody else going into our game, so that obviously hasn’t changed. But what a fantastic game he had last week."
Kittle caught seven of his nine targets for 210 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers' 20-14 win over the Broncos. He nearly broke the NFL record for the most receiving yards in a game by a tight end, but he did break the 49ers record for the most yards by a tight end in a season.
Carroll went into detail about Kittle's qualities, particularly taking note of his 705 after-catch yards, which leads all NFL tight ends.
“Yeah, George is a really good mover,” Carroll said. “He’s quick. We’ve all seen him catch and run with the ball and be difficult to tackle in the open field. He just has a real good package. His quickness, his strength, he’s elusive. He’s playing as good as any tight end in football.”
Carroll also was complimentary of how 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has used Kittle in his offensive scheme.
“I think he’s recognized the versatility that he has,” Carroll said. “And he’s just utilized it really well. Just when you look at just the highlights of last week’s game, the variety of places that he caught the football and the styles of routes and all was totally spread across the board.
“I just think that’s Kyle’s ingenuity and his creativity that really helps a player like Kittle do so well.”
Kittle and the 49ers' offense had a productive first half against the Broncos with 311 yards, but they were held to 78 while being shut out in the second half. The Seahawks will take notes on the Broncos' second-half success, although Seattle did "hold" Kittle to six catches for 70 yards in their first meeting. The Seahawks actually had more trouble stopping Dante Pettis, who made five catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
The 49ers will need both Pettis and Kittle to be productive to beat a stingy Seahawks defense that allowed just 16 points in that meeting in Seattle.