The top receiver for the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 was tight end George Kittle. He finished the day with five catches for 90 yards, but it’s the passes the he didn't catch that may leave a more lasting impression as what could have been, for both himself and fans. Kittle was targeted nine times and there’s one in particular that he’d like to have back.
Jimmy Garoppolo went deep to Kittle to the left side of the field in the third quarter and his outstretched arms were not long enough to get a grip on the ball. Kittle explains:
Misjudged it. Thought it was a little closer to me. Probably ran a bit too far with my arms out. Just a bad play. That leads to a pick six, that’s on my shoulders. It’s a play we hit all the time so I am pretty disappointed in myself for that.
Huge block by Yoose, and beautiful pass. Kittle stone-hands it. And it leads to a pick-six on the next play. 49ers have given away two touchdowns now. pic.twitter.com/BpdtV9w2j7— James Brady (@JamesBradySBN) September 9, 2018
Kittle also missed a high pass from Garoppolo in the back of the end zone. He explained that at 250 pounds, he doesn’t have a 40 inch vertical. He laughed and added that if he was ten pounds lighter, maybe.
Through the laughs and joking, which is just Kittle’s personality, he strongly believes in the 49ers offense. He says that while the Vikings defense is good, Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan make them a good offense as well. While he can’t put a finger on why the red zone challenges linger, he knows they will get better.
No, I can’t put my finger on it. Obviously you can’t go one for four in the red zone on the road against one of the best defenses in the league. That is something we have to come back and work on. Coach Shanahan will find it, whatever it is, and he will make sure we will get better.
Is there a lot of potential with this offense?
Yeah, I mean you got Jimmy at the helm and coach Shanahan calling the plays. I feel like we can do a lot of damage.
Kittle also explained the mood on the sidelines, which was never in question.
It was awesome, you have guys like Sherm [Richard Sherman] and Joe [Staley] and Jimmy [Garoppolo], you got a lot of leaders on the team. It’s easy to stay in the game even though we were losing by 17 points at one point. It’s easy to stay in the game and feel confident when you got guys like that talking to you. I have the utmost respect for those guys because they helped us stay in it.
Kittle also says the offense’s game plan for the week is clear:
Grind this week, focus on the little things and take it out on Detroit