Pitta’s Cleveland trip ends better this time
Tight end stands out where he suffered his 2nd broken hip
CLEVELAND — Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta took stock of his shape and conceded the obvious.
“There are aches and there’s pain,” Pitta said after the Ravens’ 25-20 victory Sunday over the Cleveland Browns. “I’m going to be sore tomorrow, but that’s just the grind of the season.”
It also beats the alternative. Pitta’s last trip to the Browns’ stadium on Sept. 21, 2014, ended with the tight end on a cart pondering the potential end of his career. It was that day that Pitta fractured and dislocated his right hip for the second time in a little more than a year.
Leading up to Sunday’s game, Pitta, 31, said he had long moved on from the injury and didn’t have any mental or physical hurdles to overcome. That was made clear Sunday as Pitta, reprising his role as Joe Flacco’s favorite target on third down, helped lift the Ravens out of a 20-2 hole with key catch after key catch.
Pitta punctuated his return to Cleveland with a game-high nine catches for 102 yards — the second 100-yard game of his career.
“I see what Dennis is doing and, man, I’m inspired,” Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. said. “It’s great to play with a guy like that. To see how he’s playing after what he went through, and seeing him shifty, and being the old Dennis, it’s fantastic.”
It certainly looked like old times Sunday when Flacco looked in the direction of his close friend anytime the Ravens needed a first down. Four of Pitta’s nine catches and 56 of his 102 receiving yards came on third-down conversions.
“If he was coming back, I knew he would be productive,” Flacco said. “Last year, when he came back for a couple of weeks of practice and they decided to not have him play, he looked good. He looked like himself. I think he’s going to get more and more comfortable as the year goes on. We just have to keep him healthy.”
When training camp began, the outside belief was that anything the Ravens could get from Pitta would be a bonus. In the past three seasons, he had played seven total games. He practiced with the team for a three-week window last year, but he ultimately didn’t do enough to convince
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta makes a catch in the second quarter. Pitta finished with a game-high nine catches for 102 yards — the second 100-yard game of his career.