George Kittle might be the best player in the entire NFL, but the 49ers' star tight end only needed to touch the ball once in San Francisco's 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
Kittle's only catch in the game -- a 19-yard reception -- came with only 7:59 left in the contest. Three plays later, though, coach Kyle Shanahan tried to get the ball back in his tight end's hands again.
Before quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could even take the snap on third down, Shanahan predicted the future. Kittle wasn't about to get his second catch of the day, he was about to draw a pass interference flag.
"5-yard out route, 85 versus their guy," Shanahan is seen telling an official before the play happens. "He's gonna go inside and break out, he (the defender) won't let him (Kittle) out. Watch."
Perfect prediction. A yellow flag immediately was thrown.
Kyle Shanahan told the referee before the snap that the Packers defense would hold George Kittle.— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) January 22, 2020
The ball’s snapped and the Packers defense holds George Kittle. #49ers
Former NFL quarterbacks Sage Rosenfels and Dan Orlovsky weighed in on how Shanahan knew exactly what would happen.
This is the All-22 copy.— Sage Rosenfels (@SageRosenfels18) January 22, 2020
Kyle saw man immediately when they broke the huddle. He also knew Jimmy’s read was to start with Kittle and work his way across the field. pic.twitter.com/13UJ39qeb0
Here it is 👇🏼— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) January 22, 2020
NOT ALL COACHES ARE CREATED EQUAL!! @49ers fans your coach is SPECIAL! Send it to the masses!!! @Rob_Lowder @usatodaysports @LeBatardShow @NinersNation @49ersPR @MaioccoNBCS @GetUpESPN #SuperBowlLIV #NFLGamepass pic.twitter.com/iu4iVDhRaa
Slightly over two minutes after the penalty, a 42-yard Robbie Gould field goal increased the 49ers' lead to 17 points.
Shanahan's offensive genius has been praised throughout the 49ers' successful season. If San Francisco is to grab its sixth Super Bowl title with a win on Feb. 2, Shanahan will need to pull off some more magic against opposing coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).