One of the biggest sources of frustration for 49ers fans the past few years, especially when the offense was struggling, has been the underutilization of George Kittle’s receiving skills. Too often, George has been an afterthought in the offense, a tertiary option behind the running game and Deebo Samuel. Over the last two weeks, Kittle has roared to life with Brock Purdy under center. Is it simply because of the change at quarterback, or is there something more to 85’s resurgence?
You know the numbers by now: 10 catches, 213 yards, and four touchdowns in his last two games. A new career-high eight touchdowns this year after being stuck on four for three straight weeks. Kittle has ignited the offense and become a threat to score every time he touches the football once again.
When asked how Kittle has been able to come on so strong lately, Kyle Shanahan offered this explanation.
“Brock has made a few good plays letting it rip and Kittle’s gotten some good looks, where he has been open and also he got one more big one intercepting him from Ray-Ray [McCloud], so that definitely helped.
I also think Kittle, just like I was saying with [Nick] Bosa, Kittle’s been the best he’s been all year here in these last three weeks and he didn’t get much at training camp. At the beginning of the year he had to disappear for a little bit with some injuries. When he did come back he was easing his way in, he wasn’t great and I feel like he’s gotten about a month in here without any setbacks and when Kittle does that, he gets right back to what he is always been and that’s as good as anyone in this league at his position.”
That’s slightly different than the “Well, we have a lot of really good options” explanation Kyle usually gives when he’s asked why guys aren’t putting up big numbers.
If you look back at George’s career, there are always at least a couple of games a year where he explodes to otherworldly levels. We haven’t really seen that yet in 2022, and now would be a great time of year for Kittle to kick things back up to that level.
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