How George Kittle’s ‘body bag’ quote led to 49ers-Rams trash talk

INGLEWOOD – Perhaps for the first time in his NFL career, George Kittle has become the locker room motivation for the opposing team.

Three days before the 49ers’ 27-24 overtime win over the Los Angeles Rams, the All-Pro tight end described the physique he expected from the NFC West showdown. The quote hit home with the Rams’ defense, who dominated much of the first half of Sunday’s game at SoFi Stadium.

“Apparently I used a body bag quote that they used in their locker room all week,” Kittle said after the game. “I was saying that for both sides of the ball. Like anyone, Rams or Niners, someone leaves in a body bag.

Here’s the ‘body bag’ quote Kittle said on Thursday:

“Whenever we face them, we just try to come out and be as physical as possible, and that’s what we’re really good at. I think we’re one of the most physical attacks in football coming off the line of scrimmage with an offensive line, a fullback, tight ends and running backs.

“And when our wide receivers decide to go and hit mouth guards during a racing game, that is a game-changer. You have to either match that intensity or step aside. Sometimes guys pull away. It’s definitely going to pop up this Sunday to see who the more physical team are, and it’s going to be kind of a body bag game, in my opinion.

Kittle clearly expected a physical fight with the Rams, and he was right.

The Rams ‘defense came out of the gate fully charged on Sunday and stifled Kittle and the 49ers’ offense, limiting them to just three points in the first half. The tight end had just two catches for 2 yards, and it was starting to look like the 49ers would be the ones leaving Los Angeles worse for wear and tear.

“We are losing 17-0,” Kittle said. “And I had five guys chirping in my ear, saying, ‘Hey guys [in a] body bag, Kittle. ‘ I was like, ‘Lots of time on this clock, boys.’ And I hope I can see them again because it was a fun body bag game.

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Kittle plays with incredible intensity, but he’s not known to have sparked controversy with an opponent. The Rams had a plan for the near end, limiting him to five catches for 10 yards, but it opened up opportunities for his teammates, who made up more of Jimmy Garoppolo’s 316 total passing yards.

Brandon Aiyuk scored his first 100-yard game of the season and the third of his career. Deebo Samuel racked up 140 scrum yards – 85 receptions and 45 rushing – and completed it with a touchdown pass. Jauan Jennings caught six of his seven targets for 94 yards, including Samuel’s TD throw.

So maybe what Kittle said actually worked in the 49ers’ favor – at least this week.

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