The season-ending injury for Dennis Pitta of the Baltimore Ravens is eerily similar to the season-ending injury of Jamal Lewis in 2001. Both happened early in training camp the year after a Super Bowl championship, and both guys were big contributing factors to the offense. Let’s be clear though, Lewis’ injury in 2001 was much worse.
In 2000, the Ravens won their first title in franchise history, mainly due to an all-time great defense. The offense of that team was mediocre at best, but they did have a great running game anchored by Lewis. In 2001, the Ravens brought back 10 of the 11 starters on the defense and brought in new quarterback Elvis Grbac, along with right tackle Leon Searcy. Everything was set up for a legitimate run at a repeat championship, until Lewis’ injury derailed everything, and Searcy also suffered a season-ending setback.
As it stood, the Ravens still went 10-6 and made it to the second round of the playoffs with journeyman running back Terry Allen as the main guy. If Lewis played that season, then maybe the Ravens would’ve won a second championship. We’ll never know.
The injury for Pitta this year, while devastating, won’t be a cause to write off the Ravens for a repeat like in 2001. Pitta was a big part of the offense and was probably going to be an even bigger part this season. Still, there are other guys that can catch balls for this team. Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, Ed Dickson and Visanthe Schiancoe just to name a few.
The loss of Pitta definitely makes the path of resistance to a repeat title that much more difficult, but it isn’t the catastrophic loss that Lewis was. There was nobody that was going to replace Lewis that year, but there are guys who can attempt to replace Pitta’s production. The Ravens will find a way to compete like they always do. The sky is not falling.