SANTA CLARA — So a funny thing happened on the way to George Kittle’s first touchdown of the season for the 49ers.
Here is left tackle Joe Staley to explain what coach Kyle Shanahan did on the 49ers sideline before that touchdown, one of many highlights in Monday night’s 31-3 rout of the Cleveland Browns.
SANTA CLARA, CA – OCTOBER 7: San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan coaches from the sidelines during their game against the Cleveland Browns in the third quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
“That was actually pretty awesome,” Staley began. “I didn’t even know Kyle was next to me. I was right in front of him. And immediately when the ball was snapped, all I heard behind me was, ‘Touchdown!’
“I looked and Kyle is walking away and the play is still going on. He’s just walking away, I look at him and look at him, and it’s a touchdown. I’m all, ‘That’s so badass.’
“They got the perfect look they wanted for that play, he saw it and it was a touchdown, and it was a great throw by Jim.”
Staley, out for the second of at least four games with a fractured fibula, had a rollicking time watching his third-year coach masterfully call the final touchdown of a 446-yard offensive masterpiece.
Such is the play-calling zone that Shanahan finds himself in during the 49ers’ 4-0 start, with NFC West play beginning for them Sunday at the Los Angeles Rams (3-2).
San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10), right, throws a pass while being pressured by Cleveland Browns’ Olivier Vernon (54), left, during the first quarter of their game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group)
Thing is, Kittle and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also anticipated the touchdown.
“That was a pretty simple play. I just have to read the safeties, they split, go down the middle. It was pretty awesome,” Kittle said. “On the motion, both safeties looked the opposite direction. I knew it was a touchdown before they said, ‘Hike.’ ”
Kittle then acknowledged he heard that line from Staley, that Shanahan called “touchdown” beforehand.
Garoppolo knew, too.
“You saw it happening and in the back of your mind you’re saying, ‘Alright, just got there, George,’ ” Garoppolo said. “He made the right read, got to the open hole and got his first touchdown. Exciting.”
Kittle had five touchdown catches last season en route to the NFL’s single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end (1,377).
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrate as teammate Matt Breida #22 runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Levi’s Stadium on October 07, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
He had six catches for 70 yards against the Browns. Through four games, Kittle has totaled 23 receptions for 235 yards; he had 210 yards in last season’s rout …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports