The 49ers almost let a 14-point lead slip away against the Bengals in Cincinnati on Sunday, but they held on for a thrilling 26-23 overtime victory. The big win put San Francisco’s record at 7-6, good enough to stay very much alive in the NFC playoff picture with just four games to go in the season.
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk notched the winning touchdown with a brilliant, gliding move down the left sideline after catching a pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The play was reviewed by the replay officials, adding to the drama.
But there were of course more heroics for the 49ers before the game got to that point. Most notably, tight end George Kittle had a monster day, powering San Francisco’s offense when the situation seemed most dire. He had 13 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown, which set a new standard for tight ends, as detailed by Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Kittle emerged from the locker room to speak with reporters with red scrapes decorating his right biceps. He was wearing a Spider-Man T-shirt, which seemed fitting when more details about his historic performance emerged. Despite playing through an injury, Kittle became the first tight end in NFL history to have 150-plus yards and score a touchdown in back-to-back games.Eric Branch/San Francisco Chronicle
That’s two huge back-to-back games for Kittle, good enough for some NFL history. And also, regarding the injury Branch mentioned, Kittle said postgame that he only had “excessive soreness,” most likely to his previously injured calf.
It certainly didn’t seem to bother him on this crucial catch as the fourth quarter was drawing near a close.
That’s top-notch stuff. The 49ers will need at least a portion of that performance from Kittle in their upcoming game against the Falcons at Levi’s Stadium if they’re to keep their winning ways going. But for now, we can simply enjoy Kittle’s all-time great NFL run and a big win for San Francisco.