George Kittle

Kittle, 49ers' offense close to joining exclusive NFL statistical club

NBC Universal, Inc.

SANTA CLARA — George Kittle is very close to reaching a personal milestone for the third time in his seven-year NFL career, and in doing so, the All-Pro tight end could help the 49ers' offense join an exclusive statistical club.

Kittle has caught 62 of his 86 targets this season for 991 yards, putting him just 9 away from his third 1,000-yard season. He reached that landmark in both 2018 and 2019, with 1,377 and 1,053 yards, respectively.

But Kittle’s production landmark could be even sweeter, thanks to the 49ers’ other pass-catching stars.

Brandon Aiyuk already has notched his second career 1,000-yard season (1,203 receiving yards), and Deebo Samuel isn’t too far behind at 834 receiving yards. That means Kittle, Aiyuk and Samuel could become the sixth trio in NFL history with 1,000 receiving yards each in the same season, depending on what happens in the 49ers’ final two regular-season games.

The 2008 Arizona Cardinals are the last team to have three players each register 1,000 receiving yards in a season, with Larry Fitzgerald (1,431), Anquan Boldin (1,038) and Steve Breaston (1,006) doing it.

Of the five times that three teammates each had 1,000 receiving yards in the same season, only once has the group included a tight end — the 1980 San Diego Chargers, with tight end Kellen Winslow (1,290), and receivers Charlie Joiner (1,132) and John Jefferson (1,340).

The 1989 Washington club (Art Monk, Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark), 1995 Atlanta Falcons (Eric Metcalf, Terance Mathis and Bert Emanuel) and 2004 Indianapolis Colts (Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley) are the other members of the exclusive club.

“We have so many mouths to feed on this offense, which is a great problem to have,” Kittle said Thursday. “So, when you get that ball in your hands, you want to do everything you can to run as far as you can.

“It is cool when you’re on a team with a lot of guys playing at a high level. It’s hard to BS your way to 1,000 yards. We have a lot of guys who are contributing at high levels.”

A high-powered passing game doesn’t mean the 49ers’ ground game is lacking, though. Running back Christian McCaffrey has 1,395 rushing yards on 258 carries, along with 537 receiving yards, meaning the 49ers could be part of an even smaller club.

Of those five teams with three 1,000-yard receivers, only the 1995 Falcons (Craig Heyward at 1,083) and 2004 Colts (Edgerrin James at 1,548) also had a 1,000-yard rusher.

The 49ers have two games remaining — this Sunday against the Washington Commanders and Jan. 6 or Jan. 7 against the Los Angeles Rams — to reach the historic accomplishment.

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us