LOS ANGELES (CBS SF/AP) — Though the 49ers ended their losing season with a loss to the Los Angeles Rams, they found a large sliver of hope in George Kittle, who broke the NFL record for receiving yards in a single season by a tight end, passing up Travis Kelce.
Nick Mullens passed for 282 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions for the 49ers (4-12), who wrapped up their fifth consecutive non-winning season. San Francisco went winless on the road for the first time since 1979, Bill Walsh’s first season in charge.
George Kittle set the NFL’s single-season record for yards receiving by a tight end with 1,377 when he caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Mullens with 2:20 left, while Richie James also caught a TD pass and Alfred Morris rushed for 111 yards and a score. San Francisco also set an NFL record with just seven takeaways all season after failing to force a turnover by Goff and his teammates.
Kittle had nine catches for 149 yards, including five for 95 yards in the fourth quarter. He surpassed both Rob Gronkowski’s 2011 record of 1,327 yards and the new mark set earlier Sunday by Kansas City’s Travis Kelce, who finished this season with 1,336. The Niners were determined to get the record, targeting Kittle 14 times — including six times in the fourth quarter of the blowout.
The Rams hadn’t swept San Francisco since 2004, but coach Sean McVay dropped 87 points on his friend Kyle Shanahan’s club in two meetings this season.
With the loss, the Niners (4-12) are now guaranteed the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.