Five Things We Learned from the Ravens' 29-26 win over the Vikings
Childs Walker shares his weekly takeaways after the Ravens' memorable victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at snowy M&T Bank Stadium.
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3. Despite the weather, Dennis Pitta made a hugely successful comeback( Patrick Smith, Getty Images / December 8, 2013 )
The snow set up a treacherous season debut for Pitta, whose receiving skills the Ravens had dearly missed for 12 games.
The Ravens were delighted just to see their tight end on the field after a hip injury at the beginning of training camp imperiled his season. Pitta looked plenty mobile, creating enough space for Joe Flacco to target him 11 times.
The first four targets produced just one catch, and it was hard to know whether to blame the slippery conditions or rust on Pitta's skills.
Joe Flacco made a bad throw on the first target, leading his tight end into two defenders. On two other first-half throws, Pitta couldn't get a handle on the kinds of balls he generally caught in 2011 and 2012, when he became Flacco's most trusted receiver.
Boy would he get better.
Early in the third quarter, Pitta snapped his hands around a throw in tight coverage, reminding us how valuable he can be on third down. On the next drive, he made a brilliant diving catch. Then, when the Ravens absolutely needed a touchdown with two minutes left, Pitta made a nifty move in tight space and caught the go-ahead scoring pass.
Flacco clearly had the confidence to go right back to Pitta, rusty or not. And that bodes well for the Ravens offense over the next three games, because an active Pitta will give opposing defenses a significant extra worry.
Given the weather, it's hard to blame him for an erratic performance early. He moved well and immediately re-integrated himself in the offense. Call his return a resounding victory.