George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers are back on track after a three-game losing streak, and they’re once again looking like Super Bowl contenders. They ended their brief funk with a 34-3 thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that had been on a five-game winning streak, on Sunday.
Tight end George Kittle led both teams with 116 receiving yards, which gave him 559 yards on the season. It made him only the fourth tight end in NFL history to record at least 500 receiving yards in each of his first seven seasons, joining Rob Gronkowski, former Green Bay Packer Keith Jackson and Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome.
Even Travis Kelce, who is generally considered the best tight end in the league these days, isn’t in this group, as he barely played during his rookie season.
If Kelce is the best tight end around, Kittle is probably right behind him as the second-best player at that position. He has become something of a security blanket for 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, and he scored a career-high 11 touchdowns last season.
NFL News & Rumors: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers Updates
With Brock Purdy behind the controls, San Francisco’s offense started reaching new heights late last season, and Kittle has been a big part of that ascension. The team currently ranks third in both points and total yards, and Purdy leads everyone with a 109.9 passer rating and is tied for the ninth-most touchdown passes.
The man formally known as “Mr. Irrelevant” now has almost a full season’s worth of NFL starts under his belt, and if one counts Week 13 of last season when he replaced the injured Jimmy Garoppolo early in the contest, he has played 15 full pro games. While the jury is still somewhat out on whether he is the true franchise QB the 49ers haven’t had since Steve Young, things are looking good so far.