Why Kittle isn't concerned with lack of production in passing game


SANTA CLARA -- Tight end George Kittle has seen a dramatic drop in production in the passing game over the past eight games.

But as the 49ers prepared Friday afternoon for their cross-country flight to face the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, Kittle did not seem concerned the trend will continue much longer.

“I’d love to have 100 yards receiving and a touchdown every game,” Kittle said. “As long as I’m impacting the game in a positive way, as long as we’re winning games, I really don’t care.”

In his last eight games, including the playoffs, Kittle has averaged just 2.6 receptions for 27.5 yards per game. There are some reasons Kittle can identify that explains some of that.

“Sometimes defenses have really good game plans and I’m double-covered the entire time,” Kittle said. “Other times, you play the Rams and you six guys on the line of scrimmage to account for (Aaron Donald), who is one of the best players in the game.”

Kittle, who missed the first two games of the season with a groin injury, caught two passes for 24 yards on Monday night in the 49ers’ 24-9 victory over the Rams.

He made major contributions to both of the 49ers’ touchdowns with key blocks on Jeff Wilson’s 32-yard touchdown run and Deebo Samuel’s 57-yard catch-and-run from Jimmy Garoppolo.

RELATED: How Brunskill prepared 49ers for 'slow death' vs. Rams' Donald

Kittle believes eventually he and Garoppolo will get on the same page and the pair will team up for more big plays in the passing game.

“I’ve been with Jimmy for five years,” Kittle said. “I kind of know how he’s looking at it, and he knows how I’m feeling the plays.”

And Kittle certainly is not losing his sense of humor.

“I’m open every play, man,” he quipped. “I make sure to tell him that: ‘Jimmy, on Deebo’s touchdown, I was wide open. I swear to God. I beat the guy on a seam route. I was wide open.’”

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