Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews set a new single-season franchise record for receiving yards by a tight end on December 12 against the Cleveland Browns, and he did so in dramatic fashion.
Andrews turned a routine completion on a crossing route into a rollicking 32-yard gain for the Ravens offense, gaining almost 20 yards after the catch with four Browns defenders trying to take him down.
WBAL Baltimore’s Bobby Trosset noted that Andrews broke longtime Ravens tight end Todd Heap‘s franchise record on the highlight play.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said during a press conference on December 13 that he was “impressed” by Andrews’ effort on the play, calling it “pretty beastly.”
Even Browns fans had to tip their cap to Andrews’ excellence during his 115-yard performance in Cleveland.
“First rule of playing D against Baltimore: cover Mark Andrews,” tweeted one fan after one of his 11 receptions on the day.
A frigid December game in Cleveland clearly didn’t bother Andrews, who led the Ravens in catches and receiving yards vs. the Browns, playing a huge role in a 18-point comeback attempt in the second half.
He was particularly devastating out of the slot, where he made 10 of his 11 receptions for 110 of his 115 yards, per NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Andrews Reacts to Clutch Performance
Though the drive of his record-breaking rumble ultimately ended with a turnover by the Ravens offense, Andrews made a clutch catch on the next drive to get Baltimore in field goal range for star kicker Justin Tucker.
He then converted a crucial 4th-and-11 to set up the Ravens’ next touchdown, cutting the Browns’ lead to nine points.
Andrews then reeled in an eight-yard touchdown pass from Huntley with 1:17 remaining in the fourth quarter, though the Ravens were unable to complete the comeback despite the first successful onside kick in Tucker’s career.
“It was just awesome,” said Andrews after the game of the onside kick recovery, which was recovered by veteran safety Chuck Clark.
Andrews was clearly disappointed in the loss, but did praise the Ravens for their continued resilience through adversity this season, the most recent of which was a scary, game-ending injury to star quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“I think this team is incredibly battle-tested,” said Andrews, “We have a chance in every game we play. It doesn’t matter who they are.”
“I think that’s a positive thing,” Andrews added.
Andrews Hitting New Heights in 2021
Though Andrews has the most receiving yards of any Raven since 2019, he’s taken his game to another level this season, firmly cementing his place among the NFL’s top tight ends.
Nathan Janke of Pro Football Focus noted that Andrews and Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce have an “equal number of targets, but Andrews has more receptions, yards and touchdowns.”
Andrews has the second-highest PFF grade of any tight end this season, and he leads the position with 75 catches, 926 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He also has just three drops on 106 total targets, with several impressive catches in recent games.
After being named to PFF’s Midseason All-Pro Team in November, Andrews was recognized again on their Third-Quarter All-Pro Team on December 8.
At times, it seemed like Andrews was a product of the Ravens’ unique offense, but he is showing this season that he is a spectacular player in his own right. As quarterback Lamar Jackson struggles in a stagnant offense as of late, Andrews’ production remains high. The fourth-year tight end has an average depth of target of 11.3 yards — an extremely high mark for a player at his position, and one that ranks second in the league.
Andrews needs just 74 yards across the Ravens’ last four games to total 1,000 yards in a season for the first time in his career. He also sits just 25 receptions away from reaching the century mark, which would also be a career-first for the fourth-year tight end.
The former Oklahoma Sooner is already earning the four-year extension he signed in September, and if he continues to improve, the deal could look like a bargain in the future.