The San Francisco 49ers claimed their third win of the season behind George Kittle's record-breaking performance, beating the Denver Broncos, 20-14, in Week 14. Let's dive right into Kittle's dominance.
1. Kittle posted seven receptions for 210 yards and one touchdown. The yardage total set a 49ers single-game record for a tight end. Kittle also became the first tight end in 49ers history to reach 1,000 yards in the season (1,103). What's insane is that Kittle accumulated that entire stat line in the first half. The touchdown was an 85-yard catch and run in the second quarter where Mullens found Kittle wide open on a crossing route from left to right. The tight end did the rest, sprinting away from the Broncos defense on his way to the end zone. Kittle also drew three defensive holding penalties in the first half in what was a dominant two quarters for the second-year tight end.
2. San Francisco's defense played admirably throughout, pitching a shutout into the third quarter. The focus going in was to limit Broncos stud rookie running back Phillip Lindsay, and the 49ers were able to do just that. Lindsay posted just 30 yards on 14 carries and 21 yards on four receptions. Those are meager numbers given that Lindsay entered with a league-leading 6.1 yards per carry.
3. D.J. Reed started and had a standout game at nickel corner in place of the injured K'Waun Williams. Reed posted a game-high 12 tackles as well as his first career sack. The rookie defensive back flashed consistently and made a few notable third-down stops.
4. Nick Mullens finished the game with 332 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 20-of-33 passing. He and Kittle were cooking early, but while the bulk of Mullens' production came in the first half, the second-year quarterback made some big-time throws in the second half as well. Mullens' biggest pass of the day came on 3rd-and-7 with the 49ers trying to salt away the clock. He found Dante Pettis up the right seam for a 31-yard gain. Mullens was solid overall, especially given that his one interception came on a deflection.
5. Speaking of Pettis, the rookie wideout scored again on Sunday. His 1-yard score on a fade route gave him five on the year, a new 49ers record for a rookie receiver. Pettis had a monster drop on a third-down play in the fourth quarter but atoned for the miscue with his aforementioned 31-yard catch on the team's final drive of the game. Kittle will steal the headlines on the day, but it's Pettis' emergence that has been the 49ers biggest development over the last month.
6. The 49ers defense made a few clutch stops on fourth down deep in their own territory. Cassius Marsh chased down Lindsay short of the sticks on one fourth-down carry, and Marcell Harris stopped Lindsay short on a separate fourth-down reception.