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George Kittle's 85-yard touchdown reception helps lift 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Kyle Shanahan pulled aside his star tight end and apologized to George Kittle for not getting him more opportunities in the second half to set an NFL record.

The coach even said sorry a second time.

Quarterback Nick Mullens placed the blame on himself after Kittle fell 4 yards short of Shannon Sharpe's NFL record by a tight end of 214 yards receiving.

Kittle still had a brilliant Sunday afternoon, making an 85-yard touchdown reception on the way to 210 yards receiving and becoming the 49ers' first tight end to reach the 1,000-yard milestone to lead San Francisco past the sluggish, injury-plagued Denver Broncos 20-14.

''Four yards, ahhh, it's all right,'' Kittle shrugged nonchalantly, unfazed by a near miss. ''Next time. Just talk to Nick and Coach Shanahan, they'll figure it out.''

Kittle's long TD reception on a pass from Mullens early in the second quarter put the Niners up 13-0 - ''George flashed in my eyes,'' his QB said - and Denver (6-7) never found a groove in seeing its three-game winning streak snapped.

Kittle had all of his yards and seven receptions in the first half and was targeted just once after halftime. Again, no big deal.

''We won. That's about all that matters,'' Kittle said.

Broncos quarterback Case Keenum struggled to find any rhythm after the Broncos lost top wideout Emmanuel Sanders to a torn Achilles tendon in practice during the week.

Dante Pettis added a 1-yard touchdown reception just before halftime for the Niners (3-10).

But this was Kittle's sparkling afternoon from the very start. He has provided a major lift for an offense that dealt with the blow of losing starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Week 3 at Kansas City.

''We had one blown coverage, and a couple where we just didn't cover him,'' Broncos coach Vance Joseph said.

Mullens connected on eight of his first 12 throws for 124 yards and wound up 20 of 33 for 332 yards and a 102.1 rating.

''George had one heck of a day, 4 yards short of the record. You can blame that on me, I guess,'' Mullens said.

Denver (6-7), which sought its first four-game winning streak since starting the 2016 season 4-0, fell behind 20-0 at halftime then managed two second-half touchdowns to make things interesting.

Phillip Lindsay ran for a 3-yard score in the third then Case Keenum hit DaeSean Hamilton on a 1-yard TD toss with 3:53 remaining. Keenum went 24 of 42 for 186 yards.

San Francisco ended a three-game skid. The 49ers had lost their previous two games by 18 and 27 points, including a 43-16 defeat at rival Seattle last week.

SACK TIME

Denver's Von Miller sacked Mullens for a 9-yard loss late in the second quarter. Including the postseason, Miller's 103 1/2 sacks matched the franchise record held by Simon Fletcher.

Meanwhile, linebacker Bradley Chubb had two more sacks for 12 on the season to break Miller's franchise rookie record of 11 1/2 set in 2011.

KITTLE'S CATCHES

The previous time any 49ers player had 1,000 yards was in 2014, when Anquan Boldin had 1,062 yards receiving and Frank Gore 1,106 yards rushing.

In addition, Kittle's 52-yard catch and run to end the first quarter moved him past Vernon Davis for the 49ers franchise record for yards receiving by a tight end in a season.

Kittle came in needing 73 yards to top Davis' mark of 965 yards set in 2009.

''It's an honor. ... He set the standard,'' Kittle said.

On San Francisco's nine-play opening scoring drive - capped by Robbie Gould's 40-yard field goal - Kittle made receptions of 31 and 5 yards.

Gould made a 29-yarder early in the second.

ANOTHER RECEPTION

Niners left tackle Joe Staley celebrated a rare catch, the third of his 12-year career, late in the first half when he got his hands on a tipped pass by a defender for a 5-yard loss.

He will be fined for it, Shanahan insisted. Because of the chance of injury on such plays, trying for the ball isn't advised. Staley called it a ''dumb decision,'' but explained it like this: ''It's like telling me `Hey, there's pizza here, don't have slice.' I'm going to have a slice.''

''Joe refuses to believe he's an O-lineman,'' Shanahan said. ''... It was not a smart play.''

INJURIES

Broncos: Cornerback Isaac Yiadom suffered a shoulder injury. Wideout Courtland Sutton nursed a thigh injury.

49ers: Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was able to return after landing hard on his left ankle late in the game when he went down defending a pass on the sideline.

UP NEXT

Broncos: Host Cleveland on Saturday.

49ers: Host Seattle on Sunday.

---

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
C. Keenum 4 QB
186 PaYds, PaTD, 24 RuYds
15
FPTS
G. Kittle 85 TE
210 ReYds, ReTD, 7 RECs
27
FPTS
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 3:53
B.McManus extra point is GOOD Center-C.Kreiter Holder-C.Wadman.
plays
yds
pos
14
20
Touchdown 3:53
C.Keenum pass short right to D.Hamilton for 1 yard TOUCHDOWN. Caught at SF 2. 2-YAC
14
plays
69
yds
3:02
pos
13
20
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 6:05
B.McManus extra point is GOOD Center-C.Kreiter Holder-C.Wadman.
plays
yds
pos
7
20
Touchdown 6:05
P.Lindsay up the middle for 3 yards TOUCHDOWN.
11
plays
56
yds
4:54
pos
6
20
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:08
R.Gould extra point is GOOD Center-C.Holba Holder-B.Pinion.
plays
yds
pos
0
20
Touchdown 0:12
N.Mullens pass short right to D.Pettis for 1 yard TOUCHDOWN. DEN-I.Yiadom was injured during the play. His return is Questionable.
7
plays
72
yds
00:59
pos
0
19
Point After TD 9:47
R.Gould extra point is GOOD Center-C.Holba Holder-B.Pinion.
plays
yds
pos
0
13
Touchdown 9:47
N.Mullens pass short right to G.Kittle for 85 yards TOUCHDOWN. Caught at SF 30. 70-YAC
1
plays
85
yds
00:13
pos
0
12
Field Goal 13:04
R.Gould 29 yard field goal is GOOD Center-C.Holba Holder-B.Pinion.
7
plays
69
yds
4:09
pos
0
6
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 10:28
R.Gould 40 yard field goal is GOOD Center-C.Holba Holder-B.Pinion.
9
plays
56
yds
4:37
pos
0
3
Team Stats
Time of Pos 29:19 30:41
1st Downs 22 24
Rushing 8 3
Passing 9 15
Penalty 5 6
3rd Down Conv 2-15 4-13
4th Down Conv 5-7 0-1
Total Net Yards 274 389
Total Plays 71 66
Avg Gain 3.9 5.9
Net Yards Rushing 103 84
Rush Attempts 27 30
Avg Rush Yards 3.8 2.8
Net Yards Passing 171 305
Comp. - Att. 24-42 20-33
Yards Per Pass 4.1 9.2
Sacked - Yards Lost 2-15 3-27
Penalties - Yards 11-62 11-87
Touchdowns 2 2
Rushing TDs 1 0
Passing TDs 1 2
Other 0 0
Turnovers 0 1
Fumbles - Lost 4-0 3-0
Int. Thrown 0 1
Punts - Avg 6-40.2 5-34.0
Return Yards 86 72
Punts - Returns 3-20 3-26
Kickoffs - Returns 5-66 3-46
Int. - Returns 1-0 0-0
Kicking 2/2 4/4
Extra Points 2/2 2/2
Field Goals 0/0 2/2
Red Zone Eff. 2-2 -100% 1-2 -50%
Goal to Go Eff. 2-2 -100% 1-1 -100%
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Broncos 6-7 007714
49ers 3-10 3170020
171 PASS YDS 305
103 RUSH YDS 84
274 TOTAL YDS 389
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
C. Keenum 4 QB
15
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
57.1% 186 1 0 76.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
61.8% 3139 15 10 84.3
C. Keenum 24/42 186 1 0 15
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
R. Freeman 28 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 36 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
102 433 5
R. Freeman 6 36 0 23 3
P. Lindsay 30 RB
11
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 30 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
168 967 9
P. Lindsay 14 30 1 5 11
C. Keenum 4 QB
15
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 24 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
18 65 1
C. Keenum 4 24 0 16 15
T. Patrick 81 WR
9
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 11 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 24 0
T. Patrick 1 11 0 11 9
A. Janovich 32 FB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
2 5 0
A. Janovich 1 3 0 3 0
C. Sutton 14 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 -1 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
1 -1 0
C. Sutton 1 -1 0 -1 1
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
T. Patrick 81 WR
9
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
10 7 85 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 11 158 1
T. Patrick 10 7 85 0 21 9
D. Hamilton 17 WR
10
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
9 7 47 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 12 108 1
D. Hamilton 9 7 47 1 18 10
P. Lindsay 30 RB
11
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
7 4 21 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 29 210 1
P. Lindsay 7 4 21 0 9 11
C. Sutton 14 WR
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 2 14 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 30 572 3
C. Sutton 6 2 14 0 10 1
D. Booker 23 RB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 11 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 28 217 0
D. Booker 2 2 11 0 7 1
B. Parker 89 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 5 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 1 5 0
B. Parker 2 1 5 0 5 0
M. LaCosse 83 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 3 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 15 174 1
M. LaCosse 1 1 3 0 3 0
R. Freeman 28 RB
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 5 28 0
R. Freeman 1 0 0 0 0 3
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
D. Wolfe 95 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
28-9 1 1.0
D. Wolfe 5-1 0.0 0 0
T. Davis 51 ILB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
72-28 1 0.0
T. Davis 5-3 0.0 0 0
J. Simmons 31 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
65-19 3 0.0
J. Simmons 5-1 0.0 0 0
B. Roby 29 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
33-4 1 0.0
B. Roby 4-0 0.0 0 1
D. Stewart 26 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
38-11 2 1.0
D. Stewart 4-0 0.0 1 0
V. Miller 58 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
26-17 1 13.0
V. Miller 3-0 1.0 0 0
J. Jewell 47 ILB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
28-14 0 0.0
J. Jewell 3-2 0.0 0 0
S. Harris 96 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
19-11 1 1.0
S. Harris 3-1 0.0 0 0
D. Peko Sr. 94 NT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
15-7 0 0.0
D. Peko Sr. 2-1 0.0 0 0
A. Gotsis 99 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
18-11 0 1.0
A. Gotsis 2-1 0.0 0 0
B. Chubb 55 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 2.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
32-15 0 12.0
B. Chubb 2-1 2.0 0 0
S. Cravens 21 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-7 0 0.0
S. Cravens 2-0 0.0 0 0
J. Taylor 39 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
16-2 0 0.0
J. Taylor 1-0 0.0 0 1
C. Harris 25 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
41-9 3 1.0
C. Harris 1-0 0.0 0 0
Z. Kerr 92 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
14-15 0 1.0
Z. Kerr 1-1 0.0 0 0
S. Ray 56 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-4 0 1.0
S. Ray 1-0 0.0 0 0
W. Parks 34 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
17-14 0 0.0
W. Parks 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Thomas 35 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-2 0 1.0
D. Thomas 1-0 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
B. McManus 8 K
2
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
0/0 2/2
SEASON FG XP
16/20 32/32
B. McManus 0/0 0 2/2 2
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
C. Wadman 3 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
6 47.8 2
SEASON NO AVG IN20
50 44.5 18
C. Wadman 6 47.8 2 55
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
B. Langley 27 CB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 14.7 18 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
3 14.7 18 0
B. Langley 3 14.7 18 0
D. Booker 23 RB
1
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 22.0 22 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
4 20.8 23 0
D. Booker 1 22.0 22 0
R. Cracraft 15 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 0.0 0 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
1 0.0 0 0
R. Cracraft 1 0.0 0 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
R. Cracraft 15 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 6.7 20 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
8 4.6 20 0
R. Cracraft 3 6.7 20 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
N. Mullens 4 QB
23
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
60.6% 332 2 1 102.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
63.8% 1479 9 6 93.5
N. Mullens 20/33 332 2 1 23
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
J. Wilson 41 RB
9
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
23 90 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
45 184 0
J. Wilson 23 90 0 11 9
A. Morris 46 RB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
95 317 1
A. Morris 2 4 0 4 0
N. Mullens 4 QB
23
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
5 -10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
15 -12 0
N. Mullens 5 -10 0 -1 23
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
G. Kittle 85 TE
27
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
9 7 210 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 69 1103 4
G. Kittle 9 7 210 1 85 27
D. Pettis 18 WR
10
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
7 3 49 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 19 363 5
D. Pettis 7 3 49 1 31 10
K. Bourne 84 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 2 22 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 31 339 3
K. Bourne 4 2 22 0 12 2
K. Juszczyk 44 FB
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 21 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 28 306 1
K. Juszczyk 3 2 21 0 17 2
M. Goodwin 11 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 2 20 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 19 359 4
M. Goodwin 2 2 20 0 13 2
T. Taylor 81 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 6 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 21 167 1
T. Taylor 2 1 6 0 6 0
J. Wilson 41 RB
9
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 6 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 10 87 0
J. Wilson 2 1 6 0 6 9
A. Morris 46 RB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 3 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 7 69 0
A. Morris 1 1 3 0 3 0
G. Celek 88 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 0 0 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 3 29 1
G. Celek 1 0 0 0 0 0
J. Staley 74 T
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
1 1 -5 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 1 -5 0
J. Staley 1 1 -5 0 -5 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
D. Reed 32 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
10-2 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
23-7 0 1.0
D. Reed 10-2 1.0 0 1
M. Harris 36 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-5 0 0.0
M. Harris 5-2 0.0 0 0
R. Sherman 25 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
25-4 0 1.0
R. Sherman 5-0 0.0 0 0
D. Buckner 99 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
31-18 0 9.0
D. Buckner 3-0 0.0 0 0
R. Blair 98 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
19-7 0 5.0
R. Blair 3-0 1.0 0 0
A. Armstead 91 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
31-9 0 3.0
A. Armstead 3-1 0.0 0 0
E. Lee 47 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
30-4 0 1.0
E. Lee 3-1 0.0 0 0
F. Warner 48 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
69-27 0 0.0
F. Warner 3-1 0.0 0 0
D. Jones 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-4 0 0.0
D. Jones 2-2 0.0 0 0
C. Marsh 54 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
19-8 0 3.0
C. Marsh 2-0 0.0 0 0
A. Witherspoon 23 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
30-6 0 0.0
A. Witherspoon 1-3 0.0 0 0
P. Taumoepenu 55 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
P. Taumoepenu 1-0 0.0 0 0
G. Igwebuike 35 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
G. Igwebuike 1-0 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
R. Gould 9 K
8
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 2/2
SEASON FG XP
25/26 22/24
R. Gould 2/2 40 2/2 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
B. Pinion 5 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 42.0 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
58 43.1 20
B. Pinion 5 42.0 1 47
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
R. James 13 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
3 15.3 20 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
18 22.9 42 0
R. James 3 15.3 20 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
T. Taylor 81 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 13.0 18 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
7 6.9 18 0
T. Taylor 2 13.0 18 0
R. James 13 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 0.0 0 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
12 6.3 23 0
R. James 1 0.0 0 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
10:23 DEN 20 1:06 3 1 Punt
4:50 DEN 20 2:40 5 19 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:01 DEN 16 3:01 6 34 Punt
9:47 DEN 25 4:25 8 20 Punt
5:22 SF 20 0:41 3 12 Punt
0:08 DEN 23 0:08 1 -1 Half
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 DEN 17 2:04 4 4 Punt
10:59 DEN 44 4:54 11 56 TD
2:10 DEN 8 4:29 9 38 Downs
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:21 DEN 41 2:44 6 38 Downs
6:55 DEN 31 3:02 14 69 TD
0:05 DEN 39 0:05 1 21 Game
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 SF 22 4:37 9 56 FG
9:17 SF 14 4:27 9 46 Punt
2:10 SF 19 4:09 7 69 FG
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
10:00 SF 15 0:13 1 85 TD
6:05 SF 44 3:34 8 20 Punt
1:07 SF 28 0:59 7 72 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:56 SF 44 1:57 3 -15 Punt
6:05 SF 10 3:55 8 38 Punt
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:41 DEN 46 1:20 3 1 INT
8:37 SF 21 1:42 3 8 Punt
3:53 SF 20 3:48 10 41 Downs