NFL

Joe Flacco Will Be Without Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin, Who Combined for 7 of Ravens' 11 Receiving Touchdowns in the Super Bowl Run

Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin

Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin are one of only five sets of teammates who scored 3 or more receiving touchdowns in the same postseason. Here are the others:

2011 New York Giants– Hakeem Nicks (4) and Mario Manningham (3)

1978 Pittsburgh Steelers– John Stallworth (4) and Lynn Swann (3)

1989 San Francisco 49ers– Jerry Rice (5), John Taylor (3) and Brent Jones (3)

2012 Baltimore Ravens– Anquan Boldin (4) and Dennis Pitta (3)

1994 San Francisco 49ers– Jerry Rice (4) and Ricky Watters (3)

They will be the first to not appear the next season for the same team, as Pitta suffered a dislocated hip over the weekend. Boldin had already been traded away to San Francisco for a meager price at the end of his career. Pitta was expected to take on an even bigger role after his great postseason (he jumped from 40 catches to 61 catches last season), particularly with Boldin gone. Flacco took a big leap in the postseason, and Boldin and Pitta played a big part of that. After signing his big contract extension, we will see if Flacco can continue his run into a regular season without them.

Boldin and Pitta both played a big role as possession receivers, on third down, and in the red zone. Torrey Smith will be a bigger focus of the offense, and Tandon Doss is more of a deep threat as well. The Ravens should be fine, though, because Jacoby Jones, one of the Top 100 players according to NFL Network, will likely move in as a starter (and passed his conditioning test on a second try). In truth, Jones was given several opportunities in Houston to move into a bigger role as a receiver, and never grabbed it. He has been productive as a returner but uneven as a receiver.

The answer for Pitta is on the roster, in Ed Dickson. He was drafted at the same time as Pitta three years ago, and is actually two years younger. He saw his receiving production drop off dramatically last year as Pitta garnered more targets. He did put up 54 catches just two years ago, though. The Ravens like to use two tight end sets, so they will need others to get more playing time, but expect targets from Pitta to now go to Dickson. A few weeks ago, I detailed the amount of change for the Patriots, and while nowhere near the loss facing Brady (because at least Rice is back as a pass catching back) Flacco will now be without at least 43.6% of his receiving yards from last year. Flacco gets to prove right away that he was worth the investment by making those around him, stepping into larger roles, better.

Related: Ranking NFL Teams By Skill Positions: Atlanta Falcons Rank Among the Game’s Greatest Quartets

 

 

 

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