Being able to stand here and talk about a victory and being a part of that is special for me. Just being a part of this team and being able to fight the way we did today is pretty remarkable. —Dennis Pitta, former BYU tight end
After sitting out most of the season due to fracturing his hip during training camp, former BYU tight end Dennis Pitta made the most of his return in the Baltimore Ravens' wild 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
It didn't take long for Pitta to get back into the swing of things as he was targeted 11 times, catching six passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.
"It feels pretty good. I remembered when I got injured, I didn't know if I was going to be able to play football again," Pitta said during the Ravens' post-game press conference. "Being able to stand here and talk about a victory and being a part of that is special for me. Just being a part of this team and being able to fight the way we did today is pretty remarkable."
Before the game, the Ravens scratched fellow tight end Dallas Clark for the contest, opening up the chance for Pitta to play a greater role. This season, the veteran Clark is second on the team in receiving yards (343) and third in receptions (31) to go along with three touchdowns.
Pitta was a big part of the Ravens' offense last year, catching a career-high 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season. During Baltimore's postseason run last year, which led to a Super Bowl championship, Pitta had 163 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs.
Pitta had a solid game all around, especially considering the blizzard conditions he played in at M&T Bank Stadium.
One of the highlights of the game came in the third quarter when Pitta made a diving catch to extend the drive on a critical third-down play for the Ravens.
Toward the end of the fourth quarter, Pitta scored what appeared at the time to be the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard pass from quarterback Joe Flacco on fourth down. With a two-point conversion, the Ravens went ahead 15-12 with 2:05 to play in that had been a low-scoring affair.
However, that was just the beginning for these two teams.
In the last two minutes and five seconds of the game, 36 points were scored, amounting to five lead changes.
Following Pitta's score, Minnesota countered with a 41-yard TD run by Toby Gerhart. On the ensuing kickoff, Jacoby Jones went 77 yards for a score to put the Ravens back out in front. Three plays later, Cordarrelle Patterson caught a 79-yard touchdown pass to put the Vikings back up 26-22 with 45 seconds remaining.
That proved to be too much time.
Baltimore quickly moved downfield, aided by a Minnesota penalty when Pitta drew a pass interference flag against safety Andrew Sendejo. Pitta, who was targeted three times on the drive, caught an 18-yard pass that gave the Ravens a first and goal at the Vikings' 9. The next play, Flacco hit Marlon Brown for the game-winning touchdown.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Pitta played approximately 35 snaps.
"We stuck to the plan. I was anticipating being able to play this much," Pitta told the Sun. "I felt good throughout the game and didn't think about my hip, which is encouraging going forward."
Justin Giles is a recent graduate with a bachelor's degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism and sports communication. Twitter: Justingiles22 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org