George Kittle carried the San Francisco 49ers to their third win of the season in a 20-14 victory over the Denver Broncos in Week 14. Kittle's 210 yards and one touchdown set franchise records and helped the second-year tight end eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career.
Here's a look at what the Broncos locker room had to say about Kittle's record-breaking performance and Sunday's loss to the 49ers.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph on falling behind 20-0 at the half:
"We were very surprised. We didn't play well in the first half. Obviously, defensively we gave (George) Kittle way too many opportunities. He had 210 yards in the first half which is unacceptable. Offensively, we had about 69 yards in the first seven drives. So, we did not play well in the first half at all. We played better in the second half. Even in the first half, we had 10 penalties. So, we were undisciplined, we didn't play well and it showed. The second half, being down by three scores, it was tough to get back in the game. We tried, the guys played hard. But, it wasn't good enough today."
Joseph on the Broncos defense struggles against Kittle:
"We had one blown coverage and we had a couple where we just didn't cover him. He beat us one-on-one. He's a great player. We knew coming into the game that he's the guy we had to stop and we didn't get it done.
Joseph on the 49ers success in stopping the run:
"It's a front that's a single-high defense. So, the front is loaded every single down. You have to dig out safeties, you have to dig out backers. We knew that coming into the game that it wasn't going to be easy running the football on this defense because they're cover-three and cover-man free every down so they have one extra guy in the box. So, it was going to be a chore, but it wasn't our first time facing this type of defense. We've had success in the past and did not today."
QB Case Keenum on the Broncos' offensive struggles against the 49ers:
"We didn't play well. We didn't play well really at all. You got to give those guys credit. They came out and played extremely hard. We quit playing. We got, for whatever reason, we put ourselves in tough situations on third down and didn't convert things down the field, didn't help our defense out and it's tough. We've got to help our defense out. We've got to keep them off the field. We've got to do better than going three-and-out. We've got to do better. We've got to stay on the field. We have to score points and we didn't do that at all the first half especially."
LB Von Miller on the Broncos' defensive struggles:
"I don't know. We just relaxed I guess. We didn't come out swinging in the second half. We just, I don't know. We just aren't playing. The San Francisco 49ers, they're a talented team. They played well today. They beat us today. For me personally, three false starts in the first half is just flat out ridiculous. I'm a gambling man and I broke today. I broke today. I put my team in a horrible situation, very undisciplined and guessing around, but in the end it ended up hurting us and that's on me."
Miller on what he saw out of Kittle:
"Eighty-five is a hell of a player. George Kittle's a hell of a player and he took some 10-yard plays the distance today. There's not too many tight ends in the league that can do that. We knew coming into the game that he was going to be talented. We knew coming into the game he was going to make plays, but the plays that he made today he just killed us on top of the penalties, and on top of my penalties that increased the situation. He just killed us."
S Su'a Cravens on the Broncos defense holding Kittle without a reception in the second half:
"We adjusted the zone. Plain and simple. For a guy that was doing what he did in the first half, to be able to stop his production and limit his catches, you have to go zone and keep eyes on him. Also, you have to keep your eyes on the quarterback. I think we did a good job taking him away in the second half."
NT Shelby Harris on the 49ers success on offense:
"We just have to be consistent. We can't go out in the first half and go down 20-0. Their record doesn't show it, but San Francisco is a much better team than 2-10. Against a good team you have to go out and not get shut out in the first half. We have to play better. We have to execute. We can't keep putting ourselves in a hole and then try to get out of it every week."
Harris on Kittle's record-breaking game:
"He had a good game. He went out there and played football the way it is supposed to be played. That's what you are supposed to do. That's the goal. We have to go out there and do everything better. There is no excuse. We have to do everything better. We have to go in on Tuesday and figure all of this out"
S Darian Stewart on the Broncos Week 14 loss to the 49ers:
"Our hats go off to the 49ers. They came to play today and they made some big plays. They really had a great scheme."
Stewart on why it was hard for the Broncos defense to contain Kittle:
"They had some stuff for him. He's a great talent. We saw it on film too. They found a way to get him the ball. He's a solid player. He's going to be good for a long time."
S Justin Simmons on the problems Kittle created for the Broncos defense:
"They did some things schematically offensively. They found different ways to get him the football. We came in at halftime and made those corrections to fix those big plays we were giving up. Ultimately, it wasn't enough. We just need to get a couple more turnovers to truly get us back into it."