There’s a brand new buzz across the NFL, and it grew louder in entrance of a prime-time nationwide tv viewers Thursday night time at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ravens tight finish Mark Andrews is probably going out for the season after struggling an ankle harm within the first quarter of Baltimore’s 34-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Linebacker Logan Wilson introduced down the 2021 All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl choice with a controversial hip-drop sort out, which is when a defender encircles a runner and drops his weight on the opponent’s knee or ankle to carry the participant to the bottom.
“When they do it, the runner becomes defenseless,” Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL’s competitors committee, stated throughout league conferences in October, including that the play is a “cousin” of the horse-collar sort out, which was made unlawful in 2005. “They can’t kick their way out from under. And that’s the problem. That’s where the injury occurs. You see the ankle get trapped underneath the weight of the defender.”
That’s what occurred to Andrews when Wilson introduced him to the bottom on the Bengals’ 4-yard line lower than 4 minutes into Thursday night time’s AFC North matchup and landed on his left ankle.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson, who related with Andrews on a brief move earlier than the tight finish turned upfield and raced towards the top zone, knew instantly that the harm was important. Andrews stayed down writhing in ache and Jackson slammed his helmet in anguish.
“We’ve been bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly — whatever you want to call it,” stated Jackson, who was drafted by the Ravens together with Andrews in 2018. “It’s very tough, because that’s my boy. That’s receiver [No.] 1 sometimes, and for him to go out [in the] first quarter … He’s been having a remarkable year.”
The hip-drop sort out has additionally been getting quite a lot of consideration, this season and final.
Last month, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith injured his knee after New York Giants linebacker Isaiah Simmons landed on the again of his legs throughout a sort out. In January, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and two-time NFL Most Valuable Player Patrick Mahomes suffered a excessive ankle sprain in the course of the divisional spherical of the playoffs when Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Arden Key got here down awkwardly on Mahomes’ proper ankle. And in final season’s wild-card playoff recreation between the 49ers and Cowboys, Dallas working again Tony Pollard broke his leg and suffered a excessive ankle sprain whereas equally being dragged down by San Francisco security Jimmie Ward.
The NFL is gathering knowledge and conducting a research on the hip-drop because it considers presumably banning it, with league government Jeff Miller, who’s accountable for overseeing participant well being and security, saying in October that the sort out will increase danger of harm by 25 occasions the speed of a daily sort out.
“It is an unforgiving behavior and one that we need to try to define and get out of the game,” Miller stated. “To quantify it for you, we see an injury more or less every week in the regular season on the hip-drop.”
That almost included two extra Ravens on tackles by Wilson.
Not lengthy after Baltimore misplaced Andrews, Jackson injured his ankle as he scrambled towards the sideline and was dragged down from behind by the linebacker. The 2019 NFL MVP stayed down momentarily and trainers tended to him earlier than he gave a thumbs-up and returned on the Ravens’ subsequent possession with out lacking a play. Later, vast receiver Odell Beckham Jr., landed awkwardly on his shoulder after Wilson tackled him from behind.
Neither have been clear hip-drop tackles, although all eyes have been on Wilson, who was not made accessible to the media after the sport. Bengals coach Zac Taylor, in the meantime, stated solely that he didn’t “definitively” know what the sort out was when requested concerning the play involving Andrews.
“It was definitely a hip-drop tackle, and it is being discussed,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh stated. “It’s a tough tackle. Was it even necessary in that situation? The other one on the sideline … There are always plays you send into the league to have them look at and have them interpret for you.”
In the meantime, Baltimore will look to fill the huge void that Andrews’ harm leaves within the locker room and on the sector.
Over the previous six years, the 287 passes Andrews has caught from Jackson is 123 greater than some other Ravens participant. The 33 touchdowns the 2 have related on additionally rank behind solely Mahomes and Travis Kelce amongst quarterback-tight finish combos throughout that span.
It can be a group effort, Harbaugh stated, however by way of who will take over at tight finish, that responsibility will go to Isaiah Likely. A fourth-round select of Coastal Carolina in 2022, he has simply 9 catches for 89 yards this season. Before Thursday’s recreation, he had been on the sector for under 27.2% of the group’s offensive snaps.
He did flash throughout his rookie 12 months, nevertheless, with 4 video games of no less than 4 catches, together with in Week 17 towards the Bengals when he had eight grabs for 103 yards whereas filling in for Andrews.
“It hurts,” Likely stated of shedding Andrews. “Mark is sort of a large brother in my eyes.
“I feel like I’m ready. I really just feel like me holding on to little details on how Lamar sees things, and then getting that same input on how Mark would have probably done it for him, and then just really trying to incorporate it into my game, and how I do things and going from there.”
Behind Likely is second-year tight finish Charlie Kolar. A fourth-round select of Iowa State, he has performed sparingly, nevertheless, showing in 11 complete video games with 5 profession catches for 62 yards. Fullback Patrick Ricard additionally has expertise at tight finish.
It’s additionally doubtless that Jackson will lean much more on his vast receivers.
Zay Flowers’ 53 catches and 588 yards this season are second and third, respectively, within the NFL amongst rookies and don’t embody the 68-yard landing move he had referred to as again Thursday for a questionable holding penalty. Beckham, Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor are subsequent in keeping with 24, 20 and 19 catches apiece.
Over the previous three video games, Beckham specifically has began to discover a rhythm with Jackson, with 10 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns in that span. That included 116 yards Thursday, essentially the most he’s had in a recreation since Week 2 in 2019 with the Browns.
“It’s been a long time coming,” stated Beckham, who stated his shoulder harm isn’t that dangerous. “Been quite a lot of onerous work.
“Early on in the season, I was hurting. I couldn’t be myself. I didn’t have the explosion. I couldn’t move the way that I wanted to and I don’t think people really knew what I was dealing with.”
And now the Ravens (8-3) are going to have to determine tips on how to take care of not having Andrews the remainder of the season.
Ravens at Chargers
Sunday, Nov. 26, 8:20 p.m.
Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM
Line: Ravens by 3 1/2