Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers TE George Kittle explains how he learned to play angry

Nov 13, 2018 at 11:09 AM--

As disappointing as Monday night's loss to the New York Giants was, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle continues to have an impressive second season. He continues to grade as one of Pro Football Focus' top tight ends in the league.

Quarterback Nick Mullens targeted Kittle 10 times during the game and the tight end hauled in a career-high nine of the passes for 83 yards. Kittle now has 50 receptions for 775 yards with three touchdowns. With six games left to play, it puts him on pace for 80 catches for 1,240 yards. That would be a franchise record for a tight end in a single season and place him sixth all-time in a single season for his position.

Kittle is tough to bring down. His 535 yards after the catch lead all tight ends by a significant margin. In fact, it leads all tight ends and wide receivers. Only running back Saquon Barkley has more yards after the catch with 587. If you are a defender in Kittle's way, you are likely to get run over by the 6-4, 250-pound tight end.

Kittle says he is playing angry, something that he learned from a veteran teammate.

"I learned this from Pierre Garçon last year," Kittle told reporters after the game. "That dude has the nastiest switch when he goes from not on the field to on the field. He goes from the nicest guy in the room to the angriest, meanest person ever, and seeing him play like that last year completely — it's kind of a mindset.

"Seeing him play like that has definitely helped me this year and flipping that switch to play as angry as possible because there's a lot of guys on the field that don't play angry. That's helped me a lot. So when I see someone flat-footed and get to run over them, it makes me very happy, and I'm going to continue to do it."

As for San Francisco's 2-8 record, Kittle acknowledges that the team had multiple opportunities to seal the win against the Giants late in the game but could not capitalize.

"That is something that we have to figure out," Kittle said. "It has happened multiple times this season in big games. If we don't figure it out, it is not going to be a fun season. I think we can figure it out. I love everyone in the locker room. We have a tight locker room. I love playing for Coach Shanahan. We are going to fix this, and we have the right guys to do it."

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