49ers’ George Kittle Has Message for Brock Purdy After 3-TD Bounceback

49ers' Brock Purdy

Getty 49ers' Brock Purdy

Through the ups and, more recently, the downs of this NFL season, tight end George Kittle has kept the faith in the 49ers QB Brock Purdy.

He is only in his second season, but even as he came back from the elbow injury he suffered in last year’s playoffs, and even as he struggled during the 49ers’ three-game losing streak, Kittle had a consistent message for Purdy.

“I just go back to this, Brock started like 40 plus games in college,” Kittle said of Purdy in his postgame meeting with the media on Sunday, November 12. “He had highest of highs, he’s had the lowest of lows. He’s dealt with mistakes. He’s had bad games in college. His confidence is still there, and that’s all I wanted him to continue doing.”

Kittle was the recipient of some of that Purdy confidence in Jacksonville, where the 49ers got back on the winning path with a 34-3 drubbing of the Jags.

He caught 3 passes for 116 yards and one very long—66 yards—touchdown on the second play of the second half. That gave the 49ers a 20-3 lead, and allowed them to essentially cruise from there.

Kittle Has 265 Yards in Last 2 Games

It was the third straight big game for Kittle, who had nine catches for 149 yards in the Week 8 loss to the Bengals, and five catches for 78 yards in Week 7.

It was also a near-perfect game for Purdy, who looked like the 49ers Brock Purdy we’ve come to know over the past year-plus. He completed 73.1% of his passes and totaled 296 yards. He added three touchdowns and no interceptions. Purdy had a passer rating of 148.9, just shy of 158.3, the highest rating a quarterback can achieve in a game.

After three straight losses, Kittle was not surprised to see Purdy’s recovery.

He knows how to bounce back” Kittle said. “I don’t think Brock played poorly the last couple games. Yeah, sure, there’s a throw or two he probably wants back, but you look at the tape, he’s still playing at a high level those three weeks that we lost. Just this time we were able to not turn the ball over, not have penalties, so we were able to be out there, and you can see the type of quarterback Brock is.”

49ers’ Brock Purdy Stood Strong in Pocket

For George Kittle, there was a special appreciation for Purdy’s ability to stay strong in the pocket even under pressure. On the touchdown throw, Purdy fended off a collapsing pocket long enough to execute a full pump-fake before launching the pass to Kittle.

“I have not seen it yet, but all I know is that Brock is really good in the pocket,” Kittle said. “When he has confidence in his skill players, he’s going to sit in the pocket and give you an opportunity, which is what he gave me.”

Because Kittle was in single coverage on the play—Purdy’s pump fake moved the safeties away from him—once he caught the ball, he had only one man to beat, cornerback Gregory Junior. And Junior fell down at the 30-yard line. Kittle strutted and danced his way into the end zone, and is quite sure he will have to hear about that from 49ers coaches.

“It’s really difficult to get that open,” Kittle said. “I saw him fall, I knew it was man coverage, too. I was like, well, I knew the safety went the other way because he was covering someone else. Just had some fun going into the end zone. I probably won’t ever walk in again because I’m going to get yelled at for that. But at least I didn’t drop the ball before I got in the end zone.”

Read More