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49ers, Broncos sound off on George Kittle’s record-setting performance

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The 49ers tight end had his coming out party as one of the league’s best tight ends. He is elite. No questions asked. Here’s what everyone had to say.

Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

In case you didn’t know, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle had himself a hell of a day Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Not only did he set a new single-season record for receiving yards by a 49ers tight end, but he set the 49ers single game receiving record for tight ends, came within five yards of breaking Shannon Sharpe’s NFL single game record, and surpassed 1,000 receiving yards (first 49ers pass catcher to do it since Anquan Boldin).

Kittle finished the game with 210 yards and one touchdown. He now has 1,103 yards on the season, leaving him 56 yards back of Travis Kelce for the most among NFL tight ends. Rob Gronkowski has the single season receiving yards record for tight ends, with 1,327 in 2011. If Kittle averages 75 yards per game the final three weeks, he can break Gronkowski’s record. If we wanted any reason to call Kittle an elite tight end, we have confirmation. He’s one of the league’s best and makes the 2017 draft seem so much better.

Kittle’s performance was the talk of the post game press conferences, so I grabbed anything having to do with Kittle and added it to this post. This is both the 49ers and Broncos gushing about Kittle’s record setting day:

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

“We always try to call Kittle’s number, but it depends what the coverages are. They played a ton of man coverage and he definitely beat the guy who was covering him. [QB] Nick [Mullens] made some good throws that got him some good yards after the catch. But, I wish I called his number more in the second half though.”

“We definitely called his number [in the second half], but some coverages are different. We didn’t stay on the field long enough. Didn’t do as well in the run game or the pass game and just didn’t get the opportunity in the second half that we had in the first.”

“I told him he needed to apologize for not getting 215 in the first half. No, I’m just joking. I definitely apologized to him. We were definitely debating on how we could do it there at the end. I didn’t think it would have been a problem, but I wish that he did get it. Because, to have that all in the first half and only be five yards away, he had an unbelievable day. It sucked that he didn’t get it.”

“I don’t remember [who notifies him of stats]. Probably like seven different people. I heard it plenty. I’m like a fan, I wanted it to happen and we would have forced it to happen if the situations played out differently. But the way the game was going, I wasn’t too worried. I thought it would happen naturally, but the times we did have a chance, I think we got a ball tipped, I think twice ones to him and had a couple, I think we had some pressures. We just didn’t stay on the field long enough to get it done.”

“The thing that he’s doing better, that I can say he’s done better than any tight end I’ve ever had, is what he’s doing after the catch. He does a good job beating man coverage and does a good job in his routes and does a great job blocking. But, when that ball is in the air, the play is just starting. He’s trying to catch it and he runs angry and he runs confidently that he expects to score on every look. I think that’s why it’s been easier to get him the yards he has.”

QB Nick Mullens

“He was open every play, man. It was crazy. Shoot, all the receivers were. That’s why I give the coaches so much credit. The guys were wide open. So, that’s fun, man. The O-Line played great. They were protecting their butts off and we really just had a rhythm. I’ve said it in the past, when we really just focus on ourselves, our assignments and everybody works as a collective unit, we’re a pretty good offense, and that showed in the first half. Second half, got off our rhythm, I guess you could say. But, we finished. It was a solid first half.”

“Yeah, it was awesome. We had a clear-out on the high cross, and George flashed in my eyes when I came off the play-action fake. George, like I’ve said so many times, he’s sneaky athletic. Caught it and ran. Used his speed that we all know he has, and it’s a touchdown for everybody. George had one heck of a day. Four yards short of the record, I’ve been told. You can blame that on me, I guess. It would’ve been really cool to get him that record. But, yeah, George balled out and it was a great play.”

“I think [being aware of the record] late. Probably when we were taking knees and stuff like that. So, I thought about throwing him a pass there. No, I’m kidding.”

“I think it’s just kind of the rhythm of the game. It was really just by coincidence that he had a lot of big plays in the first half. Every game has a different rhythm to it, a different flow. That’s just kind of how the game played out.”

DL DeForest Buckner

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Kittle, it doesn’t matter who it is just feeding off of the energy. Everybody is happy to see Kittle reach 1,000 yards and break some records today so it was awesome to see him do that on a personal level for him. It definitely gets the team going for sure.”

CB Richard Sherman

“He’s dynamic. George Kittle is a really dynamic player. I don’t think he gets enough credit for how athletic he is. It’s very similar to [Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis] Kelce out in Kansas City with how slippery he is. His lateral movement is deceptive. He has a ton of speed. Maybe they just ran the ball a lot more in college and didn’t give him an opportunity, but he’s just really way more athletic than people understand.”

“He’s a fun-loving guy. He’s young and has a good time regardless. He goes out there full speed and plays as hard as anybody I’ve ever met, and not just in the pass game. He’ll pancake guys, he’ll run and never complains about anything. He can block 20 times in a row and not complain. He’ll catch 20 passes and be the same guy. It’s infectious.”

“We’re happy for him, he deserves everything he’s getting. Obviously, he deserves to be a Pro Bowler this year. He’s been arguably the best tight end in football, no disrespect to Kelce or [New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski] Gronk or any of those other guys that are playing good football. But to be a second-year player playing the way he is, he makes an impact every game. He’s our number one receiver yards-wise and targets-wise. It’s not like it’s a surprise that we’re throwing the ball to him against Denver, and they still couldn’t stop him. He’s just beating guys one-on-one and having a day. He had 210 yards in the first half. I don’t think I’ve seen that done, period.”

Broncos Head Coach Vance Joseph

“We were very surprised. We didn’t play well in the first half. Obviously, defensively we gave [49ers TE George] Kittle way too many opportunities. He had 210 yards in the first half which is unacceptable. Offensively, we had about 69 yards in the first seven drives. So, we did not play well in the first half at all. We played better in the second half. Even in the first half, we had 10 penalties. So, we were undisciplined, we didn’t play well and it showed. The second half, being down by three scores, it was tough to get back in the game. We tried, the guys played hard. But, it wasn’t good enough today.”

Broncos S Su’a Cravens

“We adjusted the zone. Plain and simple. For a guy that was doing what he did in the first half, to be able to stop his production and limit his catches, you have to go zone and keep eyes on him. Also, you have to keep your eyes on the quarterback. I think we did a good job taking him away in the second half.”

Broncos NT Shelby Harris

“He had a good game. He went out there and played football the way it is supposed to be played. That’s what you are supposed to do. That’s the goal. We have to go out there and do everything better. There is no excuse. We have to do everything better. We have to go in on Tuesday and figure all of this out”

Broncos LB Von Miller

“85 is a hell of a player. [San Francisco 49ers TE] George Kittle’s a hell of a player and he took some 10-yard plays the distance today. There’s not too many tight ends in the league that can do that. We knew coming into the game that he was going to be talented. We knew coming into the game he was going to make plays, but the plays that he made today he just killed us on top of the penalties, and on top of my penalties that increased the situation. He just killed us.”

Broncos S Justin Simmons

“They did some things schematically offensively. They found different ways to get him the football. We came in at halftime and made those corrections to fix those big plays we were giving up. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough. We just need to get a couple more turnovers to truly get us back into it.”

Broncos S Darian Stewart

“They had some stuff for him. He’s a great talent. We saw it on film too. They found a way to get him the ball. He’s a solid player. He’s going to be good for a long time.”