|Tight end Dennis Pitta is all business on the field, as his 61 catches rank second on the Ravens this season. (US Presswire)|
On a first-and-goal from the Patriots' 10, Pitta caucht a pass from Joe Flacco on a short crossing route to his left when he was met with a hard hit from Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo. Although Mayo's shoulder tackle drove Pitta into the frozen turf, the third-year player immediately popped up and caught a go-ahead, 5-yard touchdown pass on the next play.
“I don't think you will ever be able to eliminate some of those big hits,” Pitta said at Super Bowl XLVII Media Day. “I don't necessarily agree that the sport is going to be gone in 30 years -- it's too popular, too exciting for fans. I think they'll find ways to make it safer, as an offensive player I am okay with that as long as players aren't launching at my head.”
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Pitta could play an integral role in Sunday's Super Bowl. He tied for second on the team in receptions with 61 in the regular season, and his 90 targets ranked him seventh among tight ends league-wide in target percentage, according to Pro Football Focus. Pitta also had a 65-percent catch rate, according to Football Outsiders, which was ahead of Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez and Owen Daniels.
Tony Gonzalez had eight catches for 78 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, but San Francisco held Graham to four receptions for 36 yards in a Week 12 win.
“We utilize the tight end well,” Pitta said. “It's something that we feel like we can create mismatches with the defense.”
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