Den­nis Pitta makes re­turn to end zone in Ravens win

Cecil Whig - - & - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ


— It had been nearly three years to the day since Den­nis Pitta last found the end zone in an NFL game.

The tight end, who last scored on Dec. 8, 2013, cel­e­brated Sun­day by haul­ing in a pair of touch­downs in the first half as the Bal­ti­more Ravens earned a 38-6 vic­tory over the vis­it­ing Miami Dol­phins at M&T Bank Sta­dium.

The vet­eran tight end en­tered the con­test hav­ing played all 12 games this sea­son af­ter re­turn­ing from a se­cond dev­as­tat­ing hip in­jury that cost him most of the 2014 cam­paign and all of 2015.

“I had a cou­ple touch­downs to­day, but I feel like I’ve been pro­duc­ing all year,” Pitta said. “I don’t think af­ter a game like this, I say, ‘Oh, I’m back.’ I feel like I have been back since Week 1. It feels good though. I think some­body men­tioned that my last touch­down was in 2013, and that was a long time ago. It feels good to get back in the end zone and ob­vi­ously, to have the kind of win, and team win, and of­fen­sive pro­duc­tion that we had to­day was huge.”

Pitta leads the Ravens of­fense with 61 re­cep­tions. He is cur­rently third with 529 re­ceiv­ing yards.

“He’s been through a lot, and he’s put in work,” said Ravens quar­ter­back Joe Flacco, who had four pass­ing touch­downs in the game. “I guess it was nice [for Pitta] to get in the end zone to­day. I know it feels good as a player. It feels good to throw four touch­downs passes and catch two touch­down passes, but at the end of the game, what does it re­ally mat­ter? As long as we win, that’s what it comes down to.”

Flacco also re­turned this year af­ter suf­fer­ing a sea­son- end­ing knee in­jury last Novem­ber that wiped out the re­main­der of the 2015 sea­son. While the heat has been turned up in re­cent weeks re­gard­ing Pitta’s lack of touch­down catches this sea­son, Flacco in­sisted he wasn’t try­ing harder than nor­mal to find the tight end in the end zone.

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“I wish I could take credit for all that, but no. I think we probally saw things the same way on the first one. On the first one, I’m stand­ing be­hind [the cen­ter], and you could tell that it was prob­a­bly go­ing to have a de-

Ja­cob Falko had 21 points, six re­bounds, four as­sists and five steals, Paul Giesing added 14 points and Ethan Wolfe chipped in cent chance of be­ing able to hit Den­nis in the mid­dle of the field,” Flacco said. “On the se­cond one, he’s any­where from se­cond, third, any­where in the pro­gres­sion. I think I had a guy com­ing off my right side, and he

nine points for the Cru­saders (2-1), who re­ceived five points, seven boards and three helpers from Ryan Rash. made me go left a lit­tle bit, and I just got the ball to him, and he did a good job get­ting in the end zone.

Pitta is clos­ing on the num­bers he had in 2012, when the Ravens won the Su­per Bowl. That year, the tight end had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touch­downs.

“You al­ways want to get into the end zone. You go into ev­ery game think­ing, ‘I want to be able to score a touch­down and help our team win.’ It is about zone op­por­tu­ni­ties. Fi­nally we got down there, and we took ad­van­tage of be­ing in the red zone and a cou­ple of them came my way.”

Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig


Bal­ti­more Ravens quar­ter­back Joe Flacco, left, cel­e­brates with tight end Den­nis Pitta af­ter the two con­nected for their se­cond touch­down of the game, a 9-yard com­ple­tion in the se­cond quar­ter on Sun­day at M&T Bank Sta­dium in Bal­ti­more. The Ravens de­feated the Dol­phins 38-6.

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