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49ers in Five: George Kittle calls loss to Titans a “blessing in disguise”

“We have our backs against the wall, now we have to win.”

Everything you need to know in five minutes

Thursday Night Football did not go well for the 49ers. Familiar mistakes on offense and an inability to get off the field on third down on defense ultimately cost the team a victory. After the game, George Kittle tried to look on the bright side.

“I don’t want to say [the loss] is a blessing in disguise but we have our backs against the wall, now we have to win. I think this is a team that’s resilient, I think this is a group that’s going to come back to work. I think we’re going to grind really hard, we’ve got these three days. I always want to say ‘flush it after 24 hours,’ but I might let this one boil up a little bit and get ready to go next week.”

If this loss is a blessing in disguise, it must be one hell of a disguise because the 49ers blew a huge opportunity last night. Instead of being 9-6 and having 10 days to prepare for a tomato can of an opponent in the Houston Texans, the 49ers now fall to 8-7 on the year and back into the scrum at the bottom of the NFC playoff standings.

It’s easy to understand how Kittle might let his emotions boil over once he has some time to stew on this loss. After tying the NFL record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a three game span, Kittle was an afterthought in this game (3 targets, 2 catches, 21 yards). The offense as whole was largely terrible after really hitting their stride over the last six games.

Luckily the 49ers hold head-to-head tiebreakers over the Eagles and Vikings in the NFC, and could get a favor from the Dolphins this week if they can beat the Saints with rookie third string quarterback Ian Book under center. So, it’s entirely possible that this loss won’t do too much damage to San Francisco’s playoff hopes, but given what could have been in the first half, it’ll certainly sting for sure.

You can hear more from the 49ers after the game as well as some criticism that Donte Whitner had for Jimmy Garoppolo in today’s 49ers in Five podcast.

You can also check out our Instant Reaction podcast that immediately followed the game, or watch it here.