George Kittle happy with target share as long as 49ers are winning games

Oct 6, 2023, 9:30 AM | Updated: 10:06 am

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after a play during the second half in the game...

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have a lot of mouths to feed on offense, with four Pro Bowl talents on the line of scrimmage at one time. That includes George Kittle, most of the time. 

The 49ers’ uber-talented tight end has been rarely featured in their passing game so far this season, only accumulating 148 receiving yards in four games. His biggest game of 2023 came in Week 3, taking seven catches for 90 of those 148 yards. Every other game: Seven grabs for 58 yards.

Now coming off his fourth one-catch game since his rookie season, it would be natural to be a little frustrated with the uneven target share. But that’s not Kittle’s mindset, more so focused on what he can control, than what he can’t.

“The Niners are winning football games, I’m playing well in the run game and as long as I’m playing up to my standard, I can only control what I can control,” Kittle said Thursday. “We have six guys who when they touch the ball, you don’t know what’s going to happen. They can score touchdowns. They can break tackles.

“Sure, I love getting the football. I love running in space. If those aren’t the play calls being called, it is what it is. And I’m going to do everything I can to either get those guys open or block my ass off. And I’ve been doing that pretty well so far.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan has asked George Kittle to be a focal part of the run game since being drafted by the team in 2017. And while he takes pride in having monster games as a pass-catcher, he also relishes his dominance in the run game.

Frankly, whatever the 49ers ask of the Iowa alum, he’ll do, happy to play his role as the do-it-all TE in The Bay.

“That’s how I started my career is (in the) run game,” George Kittle explained. “And I’m always going to take as much pride in the run game as the pass game. Every single game I try to get guys on their back. And I’m going to out-effort you. And I’m not going to let guys beat me in the run game. That’s my goal every single day…I’m just going to continue, whatever they ask of me, I’m going to do it. If they want to throw me the ball 15 times, I’ll catch the ball 15 times. Throw it to me once. It is what it is.”

The players around Kittle also feel the same way about it, knowing his worth to the 49ers both on and off the field. 

“George has done a tremendous job in the run game (and) pass game, when the ball does come his way,” quarterback Brock Purdy said about his tight end. “Like the whole team says, and we say this all the time, we want to win. And we want to do whatever it takes.

“Everyone has their big games. It’s just sort of how the play calls go and things like that. But if it were up to me, I’d love to have all my guys, including George, go for 150 [yards] every game and four touchdowns.”

San Francisco now has Dallas on the slate, facing off with them on Sunday Night Football. The last time these two franchises met, Kittle had five catches for 95 yards in the playoffs. 

A regression to the mean is certainly in the cards for the versatile TE.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, October 8th vs. Dallas Cowboys – 5:20 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 15th @ Cleveland Browns – 10:00 AM PST
  • M0nday, October 23rd @ Minnesota Vikings – 5:15 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 29th vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, November 12th @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 10:00 AM PST

Thank you for reading Follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


San Francisco 49ers

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers looks on prior to a game against the Washington...

Amiliano Fragoso

49ers Kyle Shanahan unfazed by key absences during OTAs

Kyle Shanahan isn't bothered by several star absences at OTAs this week, focusing on football only at this time.

1 day ago

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers breaks a tackle from Jalen Thompson #34 of the Arizona...

Amiliano Fragoso

Report: Brandon Aiyuk expected to miss 49ers OTAs amidst contract dispute

The start of 49ers OTAs this week comes with big decisions and more dominoes to fall, with Brandon Aiyuk being the first to play his hand. Reports emerged Tuesday morning that the San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver will not be in attendance for Organized Team Activities beginning this week. Aiyuk and SF have been in […]

2 days ago

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers leads a huddle in action during a game between the San F...

Amiliano Fragoso

San Francisco 49ers release 2024 regular season schedule

The San Francisco 49ers released their 2024 regular season schedule Wednesday afternoon, with six prime-time games on the slate.

8 days ago

Outside linebacker Aldon Smith #99 and teammate nose tackle Glenn Dorsey #90 of the San Francisco 4...

Amiliano Fragoso

Former 49ers OLB Aldon Smith details his struggles during his playing career

Former 49ers OLB Aldon Smith joined the Drive Guys Wednesday to talk about the 2024 Dwight Clark Legacy Series and all the event entails.

8 days ago

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy walks the sidelines before the MLB baseball game betwee...

Amiliano Fragoso

Watch: Brock Purdy throws out first pitch at Giants game Tuesday

San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy threw out the first pitch at the SF Giants' game Tuesday, delivering some high heat on the mound.

8 days ago

Chris Hubbard #66 of the Tennessee Titans during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Nissan Sta...

Amiliano Fragoso

San Francisco 49ers sign OL Chris Hubbard to one-year deal

Reports emerged Tuesday that the San Francisco 49ers were signing veteran OL Chris Hubbard to a one-year deal.

9 days ago

George Kittle happy with target share as long as 49ers are winning games