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Patriots Got Physical To Limit Dennis Pitta

Posted Dec 23, 2013

The Patriots put what the Ravens dub a ‘hit call’ on Dennis Pitta, holding him to four catches.

Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta had a miraculous return in his first game back from hip surgery, catching six passes for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

But since then, Flacco’s favorite target has been somewhat quiet. He hasn’t been the offensive savoir many fans and pundits predicted.

Pitta caught just two passes for 24 yards in Detroit. Then he hauled in only four catches for 34 yards Sunday against New England, and had a pass bounce off his hands that was intercepted.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said increased attention and physicality is the reason why Pitta has been limited.

“We call it a hit call,” he said.

“Whenever [Pitta] was aligned within striking range of the box, the defensive ends came out and took shots at him. I think they were hitting him pretty much every opportunity within yards on crossing routes and things like that. They did quite a bit to keep him under control.”

A “hit call” doesn’t mean placing a bounty on players like what the New Orleans Saints were punished for. It’s a term the Ravens use for getting physical with a player near the line of scrimmage.

According to Pro Football Focus, Pitta received 31 of 77 snaps against New England. He had 30 in Detroit and 36 against the Vikings.

The Ravens are trying to get him the ball. Pitta was targeted seven times on Sunday night, tied with rookie Marlon Brown behind wide receiver Torrey Smith (eight targets). Pitta has been targeted by 20 passes in three games and caught 12.

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