The Baltimore Ravens are in control of the AFC North, thanks in part to another significant contribution from Mark Andrews, an emerging second-year tight end.
Andrews finished with six receptions for 99 yards in the Ravens’ 23-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens are now 4-2, a pair of games ahead of the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers in the race for the division title.
For his Week 6 effort, Andrews received a 43.08 OSM or Offensive Share Metric grade. OSM measures a player’s contribution to their offense by using a combination of algorithms and Next Gen Stats to assess an individual’s contribution based on what they solely control.
Andrews’ grade, which ranked fourth among all tight ends in Week 6, indicates he made a substantial impact on Baltimore’s offensive performance while playing at an elite level. With Marquise Brown out with an injury, it is no surprise Andrews was relied upon so heavily.
Drafted in the third round by the Ravens last year, Andrews enjoyed great success at Oklahoma due to his athletic ability, which has translated particularly well to the pros. On Sunday, we’d witness that same burst reminiscent of his 4.58-second 40-yard dash time.
Andrews’ speed in getting up the seam forces the linebacker to get a bit handsy in slowing his route. However, Andrews survives the minor contact. He changes direction fluidly as he breaks to the sideline while increasing his route depth to maximize the separation.
The result is an explosive play.
Andrews can also defeat coverage from smaller defenders by utilizing his physicality, as shown below.
Andrews understands safety Shawn Williams will have the edge in terms of speed and makes the most of his frame and power to move the sticks. He delivers a two-handed strike that knocks Williams off stride, giving himself enough separation at the marker to keep the drive alive.
It is easy to see why Andrews has become Jackson’s most trusted pass catcher. His 47 targets are a team-high and eight more than rookie receiver Marquise Brown (39). Of the 47, Andrews has hauled in 34 receptions, exactly how many passes he secured in all of 2018.
Jackson will likely continue to depend on his second-year tight end who has also shown an ability to win with precise route-running. On 3rd down, Andrews, again, moves the chains, and it’s his stem that makes the difference.
Andrews attacks the outside shoulder of Torry McTyer and uses a jab step to force him to open his hips and surrender inside leverage. Andrews bursts back towards the middle of the field and gains enough separation for Jackson to target him. With pressure in his face, Jackson anticipates the open tight end, but it’s a bit behind Andrews. No worries as Andrews adjusts to poor throw to earn a new set of downs.
The belief Andrews has in his ability was exemplified by a negative play late in the first half. After a simple catch on a short throw, Andrews displayed overconfidence as he attempts to hurdle a defender with three others closing in. The decision backfired with a drive-ending fumble.
Andrews’ self-belief is well justified. With 410 yards and 3 touchdowns through six games, Andrews has already matched the number of scores he had last year. And after finishing 2018 with 552 yards, is currently on pace to double that tally with a 1,000-yard campaign.
He has earned the right to be considered the top option in the passing game for the Ravens, whose wide receiver corps lacks experience. Brown, when healthy, will be Baltimore’s deep threat. But Andrews, with better ball security, should still see the bulk of targets.
Stern tests await Baltimore in the next two games in the form of the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. Given the role he has carved out this season, Andrews should play a significant role in the Ravens’ ability to produce on offense no matter the opponent. Expect further elite OSM grades from Andrews as the Ravens push to preserve their division crown.
Make sure you’re getting the latest installment of Moving the Chains with Nicholas McGee as a new film study drops every Thursday, focused on skill players who keep drives alive. Nicholas McGee is a contributor to Pro Football Network’s Film Room. You can follow him on Twitter @nicholasmcgee24.