If you ask San Francisco 49ers star George Kittle, Thursday night’s loss to the Tennessee Titans is on the team’s biggest names.
San Francisco fell to Tennessee 20-17 on a late go-ahead field goal from Randy Bullock, dropping to 8-7 on the season. After going up 10-0 at halftime, the 49ers were outscored 20-7 in the second half by a Titans team that now sits at 10-5.
It’s clear that Kittle and the 49ers organization were bitterly disappointed in their post-game appearances. Tennessee is a good team that is gunning for a Top 2 seed in the AFC, but blowing a lead and losing in the fashion the Niners did stings.
Kittle addressed that to the media Thursday night, per NFL.com.
“I think our best was needed tonight, and our best players didn’t play our best game,” Kittle said. “I think that’s kind of the feeling. Deebo obviously played really well, and just as an offense, we have to not make mistakes. False starts are tough, and we’ve got to put ourselves in position to win, which we obviously didn’t do.”
It’s a fair assessment from Kittle. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel was the focal point of the offense, bringing down nine receptions for 159 yards, but that was one of the few bright spots offensively.
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George Kittle Cools Down Against Titans
Kittle has been putting together another sensational season, earning his third Pro Bowl spot of the past four years. But in Nashville, the tight end was just not involved.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo targeted Kittle just three times, completing two passes for 21 yards. However, the third target ended in an interception in the endzone, preventing the 49ers from jumping out to a 14-0 lead.
That must have cause Jimmy G to avoid his star tight end, because Kittle was not targeted a single time after that. For three straight quarters, Kittle was not given an opportunity to make a catch.
Kittle is a fantastic blocker, but one has to wonder how Jimmy G didn’t go back to the tight end, or how the 49ers offensive staff didn’t scheme a play to get him involved again.
Jimmy Garoppolo Comments on Performance
While Kittle pointed out that the team’s biggest names needed to do better, Garoppolo mentioned that he felt a “lull” after the team’s fast start.
The 49ers scored on the opening drive as Jeff Wilson Jr. reached the endzone on a one-yard score, and opened the second quarter with an impressive drive but a lackluster finish to kick a field goal to go up 10-0.
But from the middle of the second quarter to their second-to-last drive, the Niners offense simply struggled. With two picks in the game, Garoppolo knows that’s on his shoulders, but his post-game comments allude that he’ll be studying more.
“Some good, some bad,” Garoppolo said. “I’m trying to go through it in my head. We had a chance. … We got off to a good start and got the lead like we wanted to. We just hit a lull in the middle there and if we don’t hit that lull, I think it’s a totally different game.”
Garoppolo did throw for 322 yards, but those two picks and a couple other misses played a huge factor.