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Shutdown Corner

Dennis Pitta gets blasted over the middle by Jerod Mayo, bounces back to score next play (VIDEO)

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

Dennis Pitta took one of the hardest hits of the season from one of the NFL's toughest linebackers, then came back on the next play to give the Ravens the lead in the AFC championship game.

The sequence says plenty about Pitta's toughness.

The Ravens tight end caught a short pass near the end of a long third quarter drive against the Patriots, and before he could react, Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo planted him. And, after you got done cringing and wondering if Pitta would get up, you wondered if that looked a lot like other hits on defenseless receivers that get 15-yard penalties, former NFL linebacker Kawika Mitchell is with you:

But there was no penalty, and two impressive things came out of that hit. First, Pitta held onto the ball. Second, Pitta came right back and scored.

[Also: Florio: Where will Alex Smith land next season?]

On the next play, Flacco looked for his tight end, who got open in the end zone and caught a 5-yard touchdown. That gave the Ravens a 14-13 lead in a tight game with a Super Bowl berth on the line.

For Pitta to take such a violent hit from Mayo, who is listed at 250 pounds and looks like he's at least that, then score on the next play is a pretty impressive feat.

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