Kittle’s perfect response to wide open TDs vs. the Seahawks

George Keitel loves one thing about football more than anything else, and the 49ers tight end accomplished the feat twice Thursday night during their big game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field.

“There’s no such thing as wide open in football, because it doesn’t happen very often,” Kittel told reporters after San Francisco’s 21-13 win that clinched the NFC Western title.

Kittle scored two of the 49ers’ three points on the night thanks to some finesse on the part of head coach Kyle Shanahan and two perfect passes from rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. But Kittle’s breakaway from the Seahawks’ fullbacks during the two games was perhaps more impressive.

The 49ers first touchdown featured what Shanahan referred to as the “Hollywood” play, and the 28-yard first quarter score could not have been executed perfectly by everyone involved.

What was Keitel’s first thought when he heard Thursday’s Hollywood Call?

“Down, every time,” Kettle said. … When Kyle is asking for something and you know you’re going to get the ball, try talking him into existence. So you have to say, ‘Landing,’ just imagine it.

“It was actually perfect.”

Birdie’s fake left, then fake right, forced all of the Seattle backfield to clear the quarterback, leaving Kettle—who was just pretending to be a blocker on the play—wide open for a touchdown.

Shanahan praised Kettle’s Oscar-winning performance after the game, and the coach noted one change the 49ers made from going into the game against the Los Angeles Rams in 2018. Instead of Kettle faking a block on the forward side, the tight end stayed that way for the time being.

“The play is called Hollywood because Keitel is supposed to do a good acting job,” said Shanahan. “We’ve done it in the past where he fell so they really forgot about him. Sometimes, I think it’s very obvious when he’s down. …

“He did a good job of acting without falling over, and we had the right look.”

On his second touchdown of the game in the third quarter, Kittle was again wide open and caught a 54-yard pass from Purdy for home.

And for the second time, his detachment was stunning.

Kettle’s two-point game was the third in his career where he conceded two or more goals – two of which have come this season.

His big night also put him in the 49ers’ record books, recording the most games with a touchdown of 25 yards or more in a season by a San Francisco player since Terrell Owens caught a pair in 2001.

Related: Bossa Explains Why the Controversial Roughing Penalty Made Sense

And there are more.

Kittle’s 54-yard touchdown was the longest by a tight end in the NFL this season too, and his 5,082 receiving yards this season made him the 49ers’ ninth player and third tight end in franchise history to record 5,000 yards or more in his career .

The tight end is truly a special player with and without the ball in his hands, and according to Next Generation Stats, the player’s 714 yards of expected catching since 2018 trails only one other player in the NFL–fellow 49ers Debo Samuel (773).

I wish you a night – and a career – wide open Kettle.

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