Pitta makes his mark vs. Steelers

All five of tight end's catches gained first downs Sunday night

November 07, 2011|By Edward Lee

Wide receiver Anquan Boldin paced the Baltimore Ravens in catches, and rookie wideout Torrey Smith punctuated the team’s stirring 23-20 comeback victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers by gathering a 26-yard pass from quarterback Joe Flacco in the waning seconds of Sunday night’s contest.

Lost in the hoopla of those accomplishments was the play of tight end Dennis Pitta, who caught five passes for 46 yards.

All five of Pitta’s catches occurred on third downs, extending critical drives. In fact, the offense scored 13 points on possessions during which Pitta helped the unit convert third downs into first downs.

“Those are critical plays,” Pitta acknowledged. “Joe did a great job of seeing the field and delivering the ball right on the money. We were able to take advantage of some mismatches out there.”

Pitta, who is listed behind starter Ed Dickson on the team’s unofficial depth chart, has been employed more in the offense’s run-blocking plays.

Pitta ranks fourth on the team in receptions with 21 and fifth in receiving yards with 195. Dickson, who caught two passes for eight yards against the Steelers, ranks third in catches with 30 and fourth in yards with 277.

But Flacco said he has the same amount of confidence in Pitta that he has in Dickson.

“Dennis is great,” Flacco said. “… He was big a couple times on third down.”

Coach John Harbaugh said Pitta has turned himself into comfortable option for Flacco in the passing game.

“Dennis has a knack for getting open,” Harbaugh said. “I think he and Joe have really built a chemistry with timing and anticipation because some of those routes are routes that you have to kind of run on the fly based on what the defense gives you. For those two guys to be on the same page like that, it says a lot and bodes well for our offense going forward.”

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