Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

George Kittle says return was fun, losing wasn’t, 49ers won’t dwell on Cardinals game

Nov 8, 2021 at 10:17 AM--

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle was happy to return to the football field with his teammates. He wishes the outcome had been different, though.

"Yeah, playing football's fun," Kittle said after the 31-17 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals. "Losing is not fun, but it was good."

Sunday was Kittle's first game back since Week 4. San Francisco placed him on injured reserve on October 9 to deal with a calf injury. Kittle finished the game with six receptions for 101 yards and his first touchdown in over a year. He also had a costly turnover, resulting in a scoring drive for Arizona, the first of the game.

Later, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk produced another turnover, also resulting in points for the Cardinals.

"We're definitely disappointed," Kittle said. "It's tough when you turn the ball over twice early on, when you're moving the ball after explosive plays. So that kind of just kills the team. It doesn't help our defense out at all. I think we started with a couple of three and outs to start it off. The defense, that's tough for them. It's a lot of ball early.

"As an offense, we have to execute better. We have to take care of the football. And then that's all it is."

The 49ers' record dropped to 3-5. The team entered the season with lofty aspirations. However, the reality is that San Francisco is a far worse team than many predicted, and its playoff hopes are dwindling, especially with this latest defeat.

Kittle and his teammates don't plan to dwell on their record or the latest loss. There is no time for that. Instead, the 49ers have to prepare for a Los Angeles Rams team seeking to rebound from its own Week 9 loss, a 28-16 defeat against the visiting Tennessee Titans.

"And to combat disappointment, you get another opportunity next week, and I'm excited about that," Kittle continued. "This one's going to suck for about 24 hours. You got to move on from it. It's a long season. We still got nine games left, so if you just dwell on this one for the next week, it's just going to put us in a bigger hole. So, take this loss and just got to move on to the next one."

The 49ers have now lost their eighth consecutive home game, the second-longest home losing streak in franchise history (11 straight home losses from 2016-17). They've also lost 10 of their last 11 home games.

There have been suggestions that the 49ers lack strong leadership with the departures of players like Joe Staley and DeForest Buckner. Kittle, a team captain, doesn't feel the need to rally the locker room. He feels his teammates are professional enough to do so on their own.

"I mean, it's adversity. Yeah, it sucks. It definitely does," Kittle admits. "But at the end of the day, you're playing football. It's your dream job and if you're not inspired to come back next week and work twice as hard and fix the little stuff or watch the film tough, whenever we do watch it, and get better from it, then you're playing the wrong sport, you're in the wrong profession.

"So, I hope our guys are inspired to play because I don't want to lose every single game. That's not fun. So, we just got to come back, work together, not point fingers and just take this loss as a team. It was a team loss. So, if guys aren't inspired coming back next week, then they're doing something wrong, and we're going to fix that."

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