— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 31, 2018
What a way to break the record.
49ers star tight end George Kittle entered Sunday with 1,228 receiving yards, which was 99 short of the single-season record for a tight end, previously held by New England’s Rob Gronkowski. Kittle surpassed that mark early in the fourth quarter, but Kansas City’s Travis Kelce had eclipsed Gronkowski’s record, too, giving Kittle a little more work to do as time ran down.
With one offensive drive remaining, Kittle needed nine yards to pass Kelce. Kittle first caught an eight-yard pass. On the following play, he broke Kelce’s record with a 43-yard touchdown with fewer than three minutes remaining. Kittle caught the pass near the sideline and scampered upfield for the score, a fitting way to end his season accentuated with similar big plays.
“That means everything to me,” Kittle said postgame. “Those are guys I have looked up to, those are guys I have watched their film countless hours, trying to take little tidbits from each of their games. The fact that Coach Shanahan gave me the opportunity to get that all season long, that’s a lot on him. I just appreciate everything. The fact that my name is on that list now with those guys, it means a lot. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I assume it will in the next 10-15 minutes. I am overly happy.”
Kittle’s final stat line reads: 88 catches for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns. His 1,377 yards are also the third-most for any 49ers receiver in a year since 2000.
Kittle’s breakout sophomore campaign, featuring his first Pro Bowl nomination, ended in style.