Former BYU tight end Dennis Pitta played in his first NFL game in nearly two years on Sunday, helping the Baltimore Ravens top the Buffalo Bills 13-7.
A pair of hip injuries have nearly derailed Pitta's career, but against the Bills, Pitta showed the chemistry he still has with Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco by catching three passes for 39 yards.
His biggest catch of the day came in the fourth quarter with the Ravens driving, looking to add to their lead. On a second-and-8 from midfield, Flacco dropped back and threaded a pass to Pitta down the middle for a 27-yard gain just beyond the reach of a defender.
That helped extend a 13-play drive that took 5:59 off the clock and ended with a Baltimore field goal that gave the Ravens a six-point lead.
“That’s one of those plays where it’s really all about feel between the quarterback and the receiver,” Pitta told baltimoreravens.com. “He knew I had good position on him, and with the backer’s head turned, he can put one up there and allow me to adjust to it, and make a play on it. It was a great throw in a critical situation.”
For Pitta, who started the game for the Ravens, it was his first game in 721 days.
Felt good being back out on the field and getting a big win today in front of our amazing fans! #ravens— Dennis Pitta (@dennispitta) September 12, 2016
BRONCOS 21, PANTHERS 20
Devontae Booker, RB, Utah: Had three carries for 8 yards in six offensive snaps. Booker also lost a fumble on his first carry.
On injured reserve: Sam Brenner, C, Utah
Tyler Larsen, G, Utah State and Jordan High: Not active for game.
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, Snow College and Bingham High: Started at left defensive end and had a pass deflection in 38 defensive snaps and three special teams snaps.
Jared Norris, LB, Utah: Not active for game.
Paul Soliai, DT, Utah: Played 19 defensive snaps.
On practice squad: Brian Blechen, LB, Utah
EAGLES 29, BROWNS 10
Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah and Highland High: Had two quarterback hurries on 26 defensive snaps and seven special teams snaps.
Stephen Paea, DT, Snow College and Timpview High: Had one quarterback hurry on 16 defensive snaps.
RAVENS 13, BILLS 7
Will Davis, SS, Utah State: Not active for game.
Dennis Pitta, TE, BYU: Story above.
Steve Smith Sr., WR, Utah: Smith started at wide receiver and had five receptions for 19 yards on nine targets for the Ravens. The 16th-year NFL veteran who put off retirement for one more year played 45 offensive snaps in the first game since coming back off a torn Achilles injury he suffered seven games into the 2015 season.
Eric Weddle, S, Utah: Started at strong safety and had four tackles, including three solo, and one pass deflection on 49 defensive snaps.
On injured reserve: Kaelin Clay, WR, Utah; Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU and Timpview High; De’Ondre Wesley, OT, BYU
TEXANS 23, BEARS 14
Tony Bergstrom, C, Utah and Skyline High: Played one offensive snap and five special teams snaps.
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, Timpview High: Started at left guard and played 75 offensive snaps and five special teams snaps.
Paul Lasike, RB/FB, BYU: In his first game on the 53-man active roster, Lasike started at fullback for the Bears to kick off his second NFL season. He played 14 offensive snaps and six special teams snaps.
Patrick Scales, LS, Utah State and Weber High: Played nine special teams snaps.
PACKERS 27, JAGUARS 23
Marwin Evans, S, Utah State: Played six special teams snaps.
Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State: Had one special teams tackle on seven defensive snaps and 18 special teams snaps.
On practice squad: Jeremiah Poutasi, G/T, Utah
CHIEFS 33, CHARGERS 27
Alex Smith, QB, Utah: Smith rallied his team from a 24-3 deficit in the third quarter. The Chiefs’ starter completed 34-of-48 passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for a 97.8 QB rating. He also carried the ball four times for 15 yards, including the game-winning 2-yard touchdown run in overtime. See story here.
Daniel Sorensen, DB, BYU: Had one quarterback hurry on 18 defensive snaps and 29 special teams snaps.
On practice squad: Jordan Devey, OL, American Fork High and Snow College
Tenny Palepoi, DT, Utah, Snow College and Skyline High: Played 19 defensive snaps and 21 special teams snaps.
RAIDERS 35, SAINTS 34
Keith McGill, CB, Utah: McGill started at strong safety and had six tackles, including four solo. He added one pass deflection on 67 defensive snaps and 12 special teams snaps in the second start in his three-year career.
Donald Penn, T, Utah State: Started at left tackle and played 73 offensive snaps and four special teams snaps.
Sean Smith, CB, Utah: Started at right cornerback and had one tackle and a pass deflection on 43 defensive snaps.
Paul Kruger, OLB, Utah and Timpanogos High: Had one tackle on 39 defensive snaps and four special teams snaps.
BENGALS 23, JETS 22
Nick Vigil, ILB, Utah State and Fremont High: Had one special teams tackle on one defensive snap and 17 special teams snaps.
BUCCANEERS 31, FALCONS 24
Derrick Shelby, DE, Utah: Started at defensive end and had three solo tackles on 32 defensive snaps and nine special teams snaps.
On practice squad: Devonte Johnson, CB, Weber State; D.J. Tialavea, TE, Utah State and West Jordan High
VIKINGS 25, TITANS 16
Matt Asiata, RB, Utah, Snow College and Hunter High: Had four carries for 13 yards on nine offensive snaps and 13 special teams snaps.
Brice McCain, CB, Utah: Had four tackles, including three solo and a special teams tackle, and one pass deflection on 33 defensive snaps and five special teams snaps.
LeShaun Sims, CB, Southern Utah: Not active for game.
SEAHAWKS 12, DOLPHINS 10
Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State: Wagner started at middle linebacker and had six solo tackles and a pair of quarterback hurries on 53 defensive snaps and three special teams snaps.
John Denney, LS, BYU: Played 10 special teams snaps.
Koa Misi, LB, Utah: Misi started at linebacker and had 10 tackles, including five solo, good enough for fourth on the Dolphins team. He played 69 defensive snaps and one on special teams.
On reserve/non-football injury list: Zach Vigil, LB, Utah State and Clearfield High
GIANTS 20, COWBOYS 19
On injured reserve: Uani ‘Unga, MLB, BYU
LIONS 39, COLTS 35
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: Ansah started at defensive end and had two tackles, including one solo, as well as a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries on 50 defensive snaps and three special teams snaps.
Miles Killebrew, SS, Southern Utah: Played two defensive snaps and 22 special teams snaps.
Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State: Started at cornerback and had four tackles, including three solo, on 68 defensive snaps and five special teams snaps.
Haloti Ngata, DT, Highland High: Started at defensive tackle and had two tackles, including one solo, and a pass deflection on 45 defensive snaps and four special teams snaps.
Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU: Started his first game at outside linebacker and had one pass deflection on 15 defensive snaps and 27 special teams snaps.
Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State: Had one carry for 4 yards and two receptions for 15 yards on 12 offensive snaps and 17 special teams snaps.
PATRIOTS 23, CARDINALS 21
Eric Rowe, CB, Utah : Not active for game.
Alani Fua, ILB, BYU: Played 22 special teams snaps.
STEELERS 38, REDSKINS 16
On practice squad: Kendal Thompson, WR, Utah
49ERS 28, RAMS 0
Zane Beadles, OL, Utah and Hillcrest High: Started at left guard and played 81 offensive snaps and four special teams snaps.
On practice squad: Dres Anderson, WR, Utah
Maurice Alexander, S, Utah State: Alexander started at free safety and had three solo tackles and a pass deflection on 81 defensive snaps, one of five Rams defenders to play every defensive snap for Los Angeles. He also played five special teams snaps.
Comings and goings
On Tuesday, the Raiders released outside linebacker Jason Fanaika (Utah and Pleasant Grove High) from their practice squad, while the Seahawks signed fullback Will Tukuafu (East High) to their 53-man roster and quarterback Jake Heaps (BYU) to their practice squad.
On Saturday, the Raiders reached an injury settlement with defensive end James Cowser (Southern Utah and Davis High), making him a free agent.
Also, NFL expert Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that the Eagles worked out quarterback Brad Sorensen (Southern Utah) and wide receiver Jordan Leslie (BYU), among others.
Eagles worked out Brad Sorensen, DaRon Brown, Aaron Dobson, Jordan Leslie, DeAndrew White— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 14, 2016
UPDATE: Defensive back Tay Glover-Wright (Utah State) signed to the Colts' practice squad on Wednesday.
Total locals on rosters (as of Wednesday, Sept. 14): 58, 43 on active rosters, nine on practice squads, five on injured reserve and one on reserve/non-football injury list.
Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @brandonljudd