BALTIMORE — Ravens tight end Mark Andrews will likely miss the rest of the season after injuring his ankle in Thursday night’s 34-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, coach John Harbaugh said after the game.
“Unfortunately, on the negative side, Mark Andrews is dealing with a very serious ankle injury,” Harbaugh said. “It looks like a season-ending injury, so our prayers will be with Mark.
“No one cares more about the team and being there for the guys than Mark Andrews, so it’s going to be tough for him, but we’ll be there for him until the end.”
An MRI revealed the Ravens star tight end suffered a cracked fibula and injured ankle ligaments, a person familiar with the matter told USA TODAY Sports. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. The injury is believed to keep Andrews out for the rest of the season.
Andrews – a favorite target of Lamar Jackson – was injured after catching a pass on the Ravens’ first drive. He remained on the ground for a scary few minutes after Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson landed on his leg while tackling him at the 4-yard line.
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Players from both teams signaled to Baltimore coaches to deal with him immediately. Jackson took off his own helmet and threw it onto the turf. Andrews was able to carefully walk off the field without assistance while Baltimore fans gave him a warm ovation. The Ravens said Andrews’ return was questionable, but he was ruled out shortly after.
The Prime Video show reported that Andrews was using crutches and was unable to put weight on his leg.
Since being selected by the Ravens in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Andrews has been selected to three Pro Bowls and has led the team in receiving yards in three seasons. He was second on the team in targets (59) and catches (43) entering Week 11 and led the team in touchdown receptions with six.
Jackson saw Andrews’ leg buckle under the weight of Wilson’s tackle and knew it was a serious play. But he hoped that his colleague would recover as usual. Then he saw the confused and pained look on Andrews’ face.
“I was like, ‘Damn, that’s my boy,’” Jackson said.
The quarterback described his relationship with Andrews using sandwich metaphors: The couple is like bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly. He and Andrews have a bond that only comes from playing together for a long time.
“A receiver at times,” Jackson said of Andrews.
Mark Andrews’ replacement at tight end
Isaiah Likely is poised to succeed Andrews as the starting tight end. Coastal Carolina’s 2022 fourth-round pick, Probably entered Thursday with nine catches for 89 yards this season. Before Thursday, he had participated in 27.2 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.
For blocking purposes, fullback Patrick Ricard can be an asset in the Ravens rushing attack. Charlie Kolar is the third tight end on the roster.
“It’s not just about the next guy at that position. That’s all of them,” Harbaugh said. “To replace a player like Mark Andrews, it’s going to take everyone.”
The loss of Andrews will also be felt beyond the box score. He’s an energetic leader on the team, Harbaugh said, and there will be a void in his absence.
“He’s a fiery, emotional guy,” the coach said.
Was Logan Wilson’s tackle dirty?
Wilson, a 2020 third-round pick, was involved in three different plays that saw a Ravens player get injured.
Later in the first quarter, Jackson limped after being dragged down by Wilson near the Ravens sideline. He spent some time in the secondary medical tent, but didn’t miss any rooms. Then, in the fourth, it was Wilson who chased down Odell Beckham Jr. after a 51-yard catch by Beckham; Beckham hit the ground hard and missed the rest of the game with a shoulder injury – which he didn’t consider too significant.
Harbaugh, however, classified the tackle on Andrews as a “hip-drop” tackle — when a defender’s hip drops onto a player’s lower leg in a compromising position.
“It’s a tough tackle. Is it really necessary in this situation?” » Harbaugh said. “The one (Jackson) on the sideline — there’s always plays you send around the league.”
For Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen, himself a defensive player, the situation is murkier.
“I hate that Mark is hurt. Prayers for him,” Queen said. “At the end of the day, playing football, playing a tackling sport, I don’t think a hip tackle is that bad.”
The Bengals declined to make Wilson available when approached by a USA TODAY reporter.
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