Pitta, Per­ri­man catch some real passes at last

Tight end and wide re­ceiver glad to be back from in­juries

Baltimore Sun - - RAVENS INSIDER - By Ed­ward Lee ed­ward.lee@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­wardLeeSun

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.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN PHO­TOS

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