For a San Francisco 49ers team with little to play for since Jimmy Garrapolo went down, tight end George Kittle’s astonishing breakout season has been worth the price of admission for many fans. That was true again this Sunday,.
Facing the Denver Broncos, Kittle erupted for 210 yards in a single half of work, setting the 49ers record for receiving yards in a game.
Kittle entered halftime only four yards shy of Shannon Sharpe’s 16-year-old record for receiving yards by a tight end in a single game. He would later finish the game … still only four yards shy of Sharpe’s record after getting shut out in the second half.
However, that second-half disappointment shouldn’t detract from yet another exciting performance from one of the NFL’s breakout stars this season.
George Kittle posts 210 receiving yards in one half
The highlight of the show was Kittle’s 85-yard touchdown in the second quarter, when Kittle showed the breakaway speed that has turned him into one of the best tight ends in football.
Kittle also had receptions of 52 and 31 yards to help fuel a 30 yard-per-reception clip in the first half, which produced plenty of jaw-dropping stats.
George Kittle with 210 receiving yards in the first half today, That's almost a third of his receiving total of his four-year college career at Iowa.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 9, 2018
250-pound George Kittle is already the heaviest player in NFL history with a 200-yard receiving game, breaking the mark held by Vincent Jackson (241 pounds).
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) December 9, 2018
George Kittle has more receiving yards in the first half (210) than Jets tight ends had during the entire 2016 season combined (173)
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 9, 2018
And then, Kittle went quiet.
Kittle’s zero receiving yards in the second half weren’t entirely his fault, as the Broncos opted to double- and triple-cover him for the rest of the game and make the rest of the 49ers beat them. The strategy worked, as Denver shut out San Francisco in the second half, but still ended up losing 20-14.
George Kittle continues his breakout season
George Kittle wasn’t considered to be in the top tier of tight ends entering this season, or even the second tier, but that has definitely changed.
In a season that has been miserable for the tight end position, Kittle has been unreal. The second-year Iowa product entered Sunday ranked third among the league’s tight ends in receiving yards with 893 and figures to leapfrog Zach Ertz for second place this week, putting him behind only Travis Kelce for the top spot.
That’s all pretty amazing for a player who was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft last year and has played the majority of this season catching passes from back-up quarterbacks C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. Kittle displayed elite athleticism during the draft process and that has translated into a record-breaking talent.
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