Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta snapped touchdown drought with two in Sunday's rout
Well, that didn't take long.
Four days after Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was asked to address Dennis Pitta's lack of a touchdown this season, the tight end was on the receiving end of two scores in Sunday's 38-6 rout of the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Pitta had been scoreless through 11 games this season, his longest drought to begin a year. His two touchdowns were the most since Dec. 16, 2012, when he registered two scores and 125 yards on seven catches in a 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Pitta, who scored the team's second and third touchdowns and finished just 10 yards shy of what would have been his second 100-yard game of the season, said he never paid attention to the absence of scores on his ledger.
"Yes, I had a couple touchdowns, but I feel like I have been producing all year," he 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. … 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."
Flacco said Wednesday he would not force anything just to help Pitta get out of his drought. On Sunday, Flacco, who connected on 36-of-47 passes for 381 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, couldn't resist an opportunity to tease one of his closest friends on the team.
"I wish I could take credit for all that, but no," Flacco said. "I think we probably saw things the same way on the first one. On the first one, I'm standing behind [center Jeremy Zuttah], and you could tell that it was probably going to have a decent chance of being able to hit Dennis in the middle of the field. 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 made me go left a little bit, and I just got the ball off to him, and he did a good job getting in the end zone."
In his first full season since dislocating and fracturing his right hip twice, Pitta leads the offense in receptions (61) and ranks third in yards (529) and fourth in touchdowns (two). With four games left in the regular season, Pitta could exceed the numbers he posted in 2012, when he caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven scores.
Pitta might have caused some palpitations when he was tackled hard on his first touchdown and was a little slow jogging back to the sideline, but he said his body is fine.
"It is holding up really well," he said. "I took a shot on that first touchdown. I got the wind knocked out of me. And right when you get the wind knocked out of you, it hurts more than any other injury. You have to get your wind back. But I was fine. I came out of the game well and healthy."
Orr shows some fire: Inside linebacker Zachary Orr is one of the most easygoing players on the Ravens, but he demonstrated his fiery side in a sideline exchange with Miami running back Jay Ajayi.
After Orr tackled Ajayi on a pass play along the right sideline for no gain in the fourth quarter, Ajayi said something to Orr, who did not back down. Both players jawed at each other and were forced to be separated by officials until one flagged Ajayi for a 15-yard taunting penalty.
Ajayi finished with 61 yards on 12 carries, marking his fourth consecutive start falling short of the 80-yard barrier since racking up 529 yards in a three-game stretch earlier in the season. Orr said he thought Ajayi was just letting off some steam.
"It was just two competitive people going at it," Orr said of the war of words. "He was probably frustrated that the game wasn't going the way he probably expected it to, and that's what happens. Every player on this team is not going to take mess from anybody. That's how we're raised up here in Baltimore. We're not going to make any flags, but we're not going to take any mess from anybody, especially in our house."
Not happy with the field: The middle section of the field at M&T Bank Stadium was re-sodded with the new turf extending from end zone to end zone and between the numbers. However, the field conditions were a target for criticism from several Dolphins players, who slipped at least five times on the grass.
"The grass was terrible," defensive end Andre Branch said. "We knew that coming into the game. That's no excuse at all. It was the atmosphere we played in. those were the elements that we had to work with. They played on the same surface as we did. So it's not excuse."
Miami coach Adam Gase said he was surprised by his players' frustrations because they had tested the field during pregame warm-ups with few complaints.
"Sometimes when you get out there and it really starts happening and you're trying to make a sharp cut, all of a sudden, you lose your feet, and you're trying to figure out, 'Is it the cleats? Did I cut off the wrong foot?'" Gase said. "We have to go back and look at that because we really can't have that happen."
Webb's first INT of 2016: Free safety Lardarius Webb had gone 385 days between interceptions, but his 13th career pick proved timely Sunday.
With Miami threatening to put a dent in a 14-0 deficit early in the second quarter, quarterback Ryan Tannehill floated a pass to wide receiver DeVante Parker, who had beaten cornerback Jerraud Powers to the right back corner of the end zone. But Webb ranged to his left, crashed into Parker, and still managed to hang onto the interception after falling to the turf. After an official review, Webb had his first interception since Nov. 15, 2015 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"It felt awesome to get on the board," said Webb, who collected his first pick as a free safety. "I've been trying to get on the board all year. I tried not to think about it too much. Once I settled down and started doing my job, it finally came."