George Kittle: I closed my eyes, stuck out my arm and the ball was in my hand

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San Francisco tight end George Kittle has been making plays all season, and he made a huge one on Thursday night, a one-handed grab over the middle that he turned into a 71-yard gain. He said after the game that even he couldn’t really explain it.

“I closed my eyes,” Kittle said. “I just kind of stuck an arm out there and it fell in my hand. As soon as I kept running I was like, ‘I cannot believe I’m still up right now. Crazy.'”

Kittle broke into the clear, but he said he realized by looking up at the big screen in the stadium that Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley was gaining on him. So instead of focusing on making it to the end zone, he accepted that Conley was going to catch him and just made sure Conley wasn’t able to knock the ball out.

“I looked up at the screen and I think it was 21 who was following me,” Kittle said. “I was like, ‘He’s faster than me. I’ve just got to protect the ball.'”

Kittle didn’t get to the end zone, but he caught a touchdown pass two plays later. And the 49ers’ offense, which wasn’t expected to do much with backup quarterback Nick Mullens, poured it on against the Raiders.