What started out as a joke between the San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle and Garrett Celek in 2018 has turned into a league-wide campaign: the fourth Sunday of October is “National Tight Ends Day.”
Playing 83 offensive snaps between them, Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki and Pharaoh Brown combined to catch six passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. They did not light up the scoreboard, but they made some crucial plays both as receivers and as blockers.
“All three tight ends can make plays, and that’s what you see out there,” said Brown after the game. “Any time one of our numbers is called, everybody is making the big play. My plays, I have to actually watch it, I just see the ball and I catch the ball and just go. It’s more like reactionary for me, I’m seeing stuff, I’m seeing blocks, and I’m just moving.”
Brown saw the fewest number of snaps among the group, but he still ended up leading it with 51 receiving yards. On the year, he has now caught five passes and is averaging 27.4 yards per reception: he had receptions of 25 and 26 yards versus Buffalo, and would have had 22 more if not of a penalty against teammate Vederian Lowe.
His two fellow tight ends also had some positive moments versus the Bills.
Hunter Henry finished the day with two receptions for 27 yards. He had a 13-yarder in the third quarter, and followed it up with a massive 14-yard catch to move the sticks on a 3rd-and-8 on the eventual game-winning drive.
That final series was capped off by Mike Gesicki hauling in a 1-yard touchdown — one of two catches on the day (for five total yards) from the free agency acquisition.
“Once the offense was on the 1-yard line, and Coach O’Brien called that specific personnel to get me on the field, I kind of had a feeling that he was putting me out there for a reason,” said Gesicki. “I was going to have the chance to make a play to hopefully win the game.
“When I was standing on the sideline that whole two-minute drive, I was just telling myself, ‘Stay ready, stay ready, stay ready.’ Ultimately, that was the play call and I had a chance to go up and make a play to put us ahead.”
A tight end making the game-winning reception put a fitting end to this year’s “National Tight Ends Day” for the Patriots.
“It’s more than perfect that [Gesicki] scored it,” said Pharaoh Brown.
Of course, if he had any say in the matter there would be more holidays celebrating the position.
“We need to have National Tight Ends Day every day,” he noted after the game. “It’s kind of like Father’s Day or something, let’s just add more Father’s Days, more Christmases, more birthdays, more National Tight Ends Days every day.”