A catch made by George Kittle has been immortalized in NFL history after the game-winning touchdown. The ball went through the uprights and sparked a wild celebration on both sidelines, even as there was still time left on the clock. It’s just one of those plays that leaves you speechless at its magnificence.:
George Kittle paid homage to the “dwight clark” in a 49ers overtime victory. The catch was made by Dwight Clark on January 9, 1982 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
In 49ers history, George Kittle and the late Dwight Clark will always be intertwined.
In August, Kittle earned the first-ever winner of the Dwight Clark Legacy Award, which honors a 49ers player who best epitomizes Clark’s attitude of collaboration.
Clark, the legendary 49ers wide receiver whose “Catch” in the 1981 NFC Championship Game catapulted the franchise to its first Super Bowl victory 40 years ago this season, died in 2018 from ALS complications.
The Golden Heart Fund, a nonprofit organization established by the 49ers to assist athletes transitioning from their NFL careers to their next stages in life, received proceeds from the event showcasing the award, which was awarded to Kittle as part of the Dwight Clark Legacy Series.
In September, Kittle told The Athletic, “The amount of nice things that coaches and players have to say about [Clark] is honestly just overwhelming.” “He was grateful for the opportunity to play football, for the opportunity to meet amazing friends, and for the opportunity to create all of those beautiful experiences with all of them.”
Kittle created some memories of his own on Sunday. Clark’s record-breaking effort in a 26-23 overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals featured a play that left football fans all around the world remembering Clark’s spectacular catch.
Kittle goes places in the NFL record books where no other tight end has gone before.
George Kittle | Getty Images/Dylan Buell
Kittle has long been considered as one of the top tight ends in the NFL, if not the best. Kittle has been a two-time Pro Bowler (2018, 2019) and a first-team All-Pro in 2019 after joining the league in 2017. Kittle has 2,945 yards in his first three seasons in the league, which is the most of any tight end in the league.
However, what Kittle has accomplished in the last two weeks is remarkable for the position. Kittle has nine receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a Week 13 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.
The Bengals were defeated 26-23 in overtime on Sunday as a result of this.
Kittle caught 13 catches for 151 yards and a score in a performance that removed the sting of last week’s defeat and placed the 49ers back among the NFC’s three wild-card teams with four games remaining. He became the first tight end in NFL history to have at least 150 receiving yards and a score in consecutive games.
“I just have to go out there and execute when coach Shanahan calls my name,” Kittle said after the game, according to NFL.com. “You just have to make the play when you get the chance, and thankfully, I made the play more than I didn’t tonight.”
Late in regulation, Kittle performed an incredible reenactment of The Catch, almost winning the game.
On Sunday, the ties between Kittle and Clark were unmistakable.
Two weeks after Clark’s memorable leaping reception in the corner of the end zone with less than a minute to go at Candlestick Park gave the 49ers a 28-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers faced the Bengals in Super Bowl 16 in January 1982.
Clark, on the other hand, was much more than his infamous fingertip grasp. Clark continues to inspire even after his passing, including a generation of athletes who were not even born when Clark was dazzling 49ers fans with his performance.
“I read and hear tales of a guy who lived each day to the fullest and always carried a little compassion with him,” Kittle told The Athletic. “I make an effort to do the same. My family has always taught me to treat people as I would like to be treated, and I believe that this philosophy transfers well to the locker room and organization.”
On Sunday, the 49ers seemed to be on the verge of yet another game-winning drive, pushing into Bengals territory with 20 seconds left in a 20-20 tie. On 3rd-and-10 from the Bengals’ 48-yard line, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo lofted a throw to Kittle to avoid a Bengals defensive back.
Kittle, on the other hand, leaped high and caught the throw with his extended fingers before landing on the 29-yard line with a 19-yard reception, setting up a game-winning field-goal try.
After the game, 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk stated, “That’s a different person. Huge third-down plays, just plays all over the field.” That’s a one-of-a-kind individual – a really one-of-a-kind individual.”
Kittle’s 13th grab in overtime set a record and set up the game-winning score.
Unfortunately, kicker Robbie Gould lacked the necessary historical context and missed the game-winning field goal at the final second. Instead, the teams went into overtime knotted at 20-20, giving Kittle the opportunity to create a new record.
The Bengals won the extra coin toss and marched downfield to make a field goal to grab a 23-20 lead on the first possession. However, the 49ers now have a chance to tie or win the game. It also provided Kittle the chance to break his own NFL record.
Kittle has 10 receptions for 113 yards at the conclusion of regulation. He came through again with the 49ers trailing and in a must-score situation, catching three more passes for 38 yards on the game-winning drive, including a 9-yard reception on 3rd-and-5 from the Bengals’ 21-yard line that set up Aiyuk’s 12-yard sideline scamper for the game-winning score in a 26-23 victory that propelled the 7-6 49ers into the No. 6 seed in the NFC Playoff race.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said of Kittle, “We tried like hell to take him away.” “And he simply finds a way to create those plays,” says the narrator.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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