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George Kittle’s catch, energy boost 49ers past Cowboys to NFC title game

NewsGeorge Kittle's catch, energy boost 49ers past Cowboys to NFC title game

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers’ offense wasn’t grooving Sunday prefer it normally does. The Cowboys’ protection was enjoying quick and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy began out gradual to get the ball off.

Put all of it collectively, and the longtime rivals have been tied 9-9 in the midst of the third quarter. A hotly anticipated NFC divisional-round playoff recreation that includes two high-powered offenses was turning right into a grinder.

The sport referred to as for a momentum changer. Enter, George Kittle.

On first-and-10 on the 49ers’ personal 21-yard line, Purdy discovered Kittle over the center — however threw it only a contact forward of him. An outstretched Kittle received one hand on it, then hit it in opposition to his helmet and bobbled the ball on his fingertips earlier than wrangling it in for a 30-yard catch.

“I believed, ‘OK, he’s both going to let this fall, keep within the air and get his head cleaned off, or he’s going to return down with it,’” proper deal with Mike McGlinchey stated. “He made a George Kittle kind of play.”

As Kittle fell, cornerback Trevon Diggs whizzed simply inches in entrance of his head, however the tight finish held on.

Levi’s Stadium erupted as Kittle jumped up from the grass, gave the Fox broadcast cameras a wide-eyed stare and caught out his tongue. A Kittle signature, daring viewers to scent what he and the 49ers have been cooking.

“Simply attempting to be a bit of dramatic,” Kittle stated. “Get the scores up, that’s what we’re right here for.”

Kittle’s large catch stirred up the group and put the house staff in place to attain. However the holding name he drew later within the drive sealed the deal. He bought a bear hug from security Donovan Wilson to referees close by on what would have been a third-down sack of Purdy. It arrange a simple 2-yard dashing landing for Christian McCaffrey to open the fourth quarter, the 49ers’ solely landing of the evening of their 19-12 win.

In a decent, grind-it-out recreation between rivals, Kittle made clear he was staying free. When the printed SkyCam hovered over the 49ers’ huddle, Kittle stared immediately into the lens to make a face.

“When it’s like 4 ft above you and I may contact it, it’s fairly onerous to overlook it,” Kittle stated.

After McCaffrey’s landing, he made certain to seize the landing ball and hand it to Corridor of Fame receiver and Levi’s stadium mainstay Jerry Rice, seated behind the tip zone.

“I noticed Jerry and I used to be like, Jerry Rice wants a soccer,” Kittle stated.

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