Pitta, Perriman catch some real passes at last
Tight end and wide receiver glad to be back from injuries
Dennis Pitta’s stat line wasn’t eyecatching, but perhaps the most important takeaway was that the Ravens tight end came away from his first game in almost two years without an injury.
“I feel really good, and the legs feel good,” Pitta said after the Ravens’ 13-7 win against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. “I stayed healthy, which is important, and I am excited to keep it rolling.”
Pitta finished the season opener with three receptions on four targets for 39 yards, his first action since Sept. 21, 2014, when he fractured his right hip in the second quarter of a 23-21 win against the Cleveland Browns.
After catching just one pass for 7 yards in the first half, Pitta grabbed two for 32 yards, including a reception over the middle in which he induced Bills linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) to overpursue before Pitta fell backward to collect the pass from quarterback Joe Flacco late in the fourth quarter.
“He did a good job of reading the situation and making a nice throw where I could make an adjusted catch,” Pitta said. “We did a good job of working the linebacker there because he had his head turned. It is one of those feel things, and it’s something you don’t get to rep in practice. When it happened in the game, we were both on the same page.” Perriman realizes ‘dream come true’: Breshad Perriman played in the Ravens’ preseason finale Sept. 1, but that tune-up paled in comparison to his first career appearance Sunday.
“Crazy, man,” the second-year wide receiver said. “Really, a dream come true for me. The last game was good as well, but this is the first regular-season [game], and just being out here with the whole team and the rest of the 53 and my receiving corps, it just feels great. Words can’t really explain it. I’m just really happy.”
Perriman, the Ravens’ first-round draft pick in 2015, was forced to sit out last season by a partially torn PCL in his right knee. In Rookie offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley, the Ravens’ sixth overall pick in the April draft, shakes hands with fans after the game. June, he suffered a partially torn ACL in his left knee before being activated off the team’s physically-unable-to-perform list Aug. 18.
Perriman was targeted just twice by Flacco but caught one pass for 35 yards when he leaped over Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore on second-and-8 from the Ravens’ 11-yard line in the first quarter.
“I was going to try to catch it over my shoulder and try to score, but the way the ball came, I had no choice but to try to outjump him, and thankfully, I did,” Perriman said. “I mistimed it a little bit, but I got to the highest point and got the catch.” Wright leads defensive effort: Cornerback Shareece Wright sparked the Ravens defense, finishing as the only player to have double-digit tackles (11). Three of those stops resulted in the Bills’ losing yards on running plays.
“I do whatever I can, whatever I can to help this team win,” Wright said. “I was in position to make tackles, and we emphasized that, making tackles on [Buffalo running back LeSean] McCoy and being able to get those guys down and eliminate big plays. We know they’re explosive when they’re making guys miss tackles. So that was important today, and I was able to get that done.” Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, playing his first game since Sept. 21, 2014, beats Bills linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) on a fourth-quarter pass from quarterback Joe Flacco.
Strong safety Eric Weddle, who played four seasons with Wright on the San Diego Chargers, was not surprised by his teammate’s performance.
“Shareece was big-time today — not only in covering his guys, but I played with ’Reece for four years, and I know what type of player he is, how physical and tough he is,” Weddle said. “He’s a willing tackler, and everyone got an open party of what he’s all about. I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s worked his tail off. Shoot, some of those third-down stops, if he doesn’t make those, those maybe become big plays.” Rookie linemen make franchise history: By taking the field on the unit’s first possession of the game, left tackle Ronnie Stanley and left guard Alex Lewis became the first rookies in Ravens history to start simultaneously at those positions, and the first duo in the NFL do so since 1995, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The significance of the occasion was not lost on Stanley, the sixth overall pick in April.
“It’s really cool, especially knowing that we’re able to play in this league and pick up defenses,” he said. “We’re both smart and physical players, and we just need to be clear-minded and become more consistentlike.”
Lewis, a fourth-round selection, had started the final three preseason games at left guard, but his role Sunday was not finalized until guard John Urschel (shoulder) was deactivated 90 minutes before the game.
“First of all, it was fun,” Lewis said. “It was a pretty cool feeling, but there are always things to clean up and work on. We’re going to watch the tape tomorrow, and we’re going to fix them and get better and focus on the Browns next week.” End zone: The Ravens played without cornerbacks Jerraud Powers (ankle) and Will Davis (inactive), running backs Buck Allen (inactive) and Kenneth Dixon (strained MCL in left knee), outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (foot) and defensive tackle Willie Henry (inactive). … Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Albert McClellan, right guard Marshal Yanda and Flacco represented the Ravens in the pregame coin toss.