On #49ers TE George Kittle, who went down on Thursday night: ‘Knee is good,’ source said. Sounds like the MRI confirmed the minor ailment coach Kyle Shanahan had hoped for.
Despite the injury, Kittle played well on Thursday night, hauling in six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. It was just Kittle’s second score of the season, but one of the most impressive ones of his career. After catching a slant over the middle, Kittle bounced off several defenders before plowing his way into the end zone on the final play of the first quarter. The score tied the game at 7-7.
Kittle will have 11 days off to rest and recover before the 49ers next game, a crucial home showdown on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks. The matchup could determine who has the inside track to win the very competitive NFC West.
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Playing Through the Pain
After the game, Kittle revealed he was not only playing through a knee injury, but a slight groin injury as well. The ailments kept him sidelined for the majority of the fourth quarter with San Francisco clinging to a late lead.
Kittle’s backup, Ross Dwelley, made the crucial catch on the game’s final drive, hauling in a pass for 11 yards on 3rd and 8 from 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garappolo, sealing the victory for San Francisco.
“I tried to give my team everything I could, and in the fourth quarter, I really couldn’t go anymore,” Kittle told reporters after the game. “I’m happy to have a guy like Ross Dwelley in there stepping up.”
San Francisco Remains Unbeaten
The 49ers could have used Kittle down the stretch as Arizona was making their comeback on Thursday night, but San Francisco was able to hold on late and improve their record to 8-0 on the season.
The Niners boast the league’s third-ranked offense and second-ranked defense. The defense has been led by Nick Bosa, who leads the team with seven sacks. Bosa has also recorded an interception and recovered a fumble in a breakout rookie campaign.
Garappolo has evolved into a consistent passer and looks healthy and comfortable in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme. Shanahan said Garappolo played his best game of the season in Thursday’s win.
“I thought Jimmy played a hell of a game,” Shanahan told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. “His best game yet, probably.”
The schedule stiffens for San Francisco down the stretch. Four of their next five games are all against teams with a winning record, including the Seahawks, Packers, and Saints, who are considered to be the other top teams in the conference.
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