Pro Football Focus is a goldmine for interesting factoids and statistics. They've outdone themselves with this eloquent breakdown of George Kittle's monster 2018 campaign.
Through 10 games, Kittle has racked up 50 receptions for 775 yards and three touchdowns. That's a massive jump from the 43 receptions for 515 yards as a rookie in 2017. Here's a summary of what makes Kittle's current pace so impressive.
- Kittle has 535 yards after the catch (YAC) this season. He's only the third tight end to reach that mark since 2006 (Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski), and he's done so with six games left to play.
- Kelce posted 652 YAC in 2016. Kittle is on pace to smash that number.
- Kelce averaged 7.7 YAC per reception that season. Kittle is currently averaging 10.7 YAC per reception.
- At 10.7 YAC per reception, Kittle's average is higher than Todd Gurley's (10.6), Saquon Barkley's (9.5), Christian McCaffrey's (8.4) and Alvin Kamara's (7.8). As PFF so astutely pointed out, that's absurd when teams call dump-off passes and screens to running backs that are designed to go for big gains.
- Kittle has 19 receptions with at least 10 YAC. That's the third most of any NFL player. Only Saquon Barkely and James White have more. Travis Kelce is the next closest tight end with 10.
- Those 19 catches are on pace to break Kelce's record for a tight end of 24 receptions with at least 10 or more YAC set in 2016.
- Kittle is in a league of his own among tight ends this season in terms of YAC. His 535 are way more than the next closest tight end, who is Kelce at 362 YAC.
- Kittle ranks first among NFL tight ends with three receptions of at least 40 yards.
- Kittle has 10 receptions of 20 yards or more, tied for the most among tight ends with Kelce and Jared Cook.
PFF was also keen to note that Kittle has done all of this while catching passes from three different quarterbacks: Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens.
"When Jimmy Garoppolo returns next season, the 49ers could have an elite quarterback-tight end duo in their arsenal," said Ben Cooper of PFF.
Kittle is a near-lock for a Pro Bowl bid this season and could receive some All-Pro votes if he keeps up his current pace. He's the 49ers top storyline to watch over the team's final six games.