Do the Ravens have a gem in their backup tight end?

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens / Todd Olszewski/GettyImages

In a less-than-spectacular performance, the Baltimore Ravens (9-3) did enough to earn a solid 20–10 victory on the road at the Los Angeles Chargers before getting into their well-deserved bye week.

Despite the Ravens' offense struggling a bit to put points on the board and Zay Flowers being the only man adding his name (twice) to the touchdown column, the defense stepped up and helped the team get the dub in LA by forcing four turnovers throughout Sunday night's matchup.

There were always going to be some growing pains following the news of Mark Andrews' regular-season-ending surgery earlier last week, ruling him out for the last SNF and a few more games while he recovers.

At the end of the day, Andrews has always been QB Lamar Jackson's no. 1 target so the offense would need to adjust to his absence one way or another, and that was (and still is) expected to take some time. (Thank God the Ravens have a tiny wideout in Flowers around...)

Anyway, in the absence of Andrews due to the injury he suffered in Week 11 against the Bengals, the Ravens elevated second-string tight end Isaiah Likely to a TE1 role with Charlie Kolar getting TE2 snaps last Sunday.

And truth be told, Likely couldn't have done more.

The sophomore, in his second season with the Ravens and his second start of the season (Andrews missed Week 1), surely took advantage of his extraordinary chance and hauled in four receptions for 40 yards. Likely led all Ravens in receiving yards and fell only one reception short of Flowers' five grabs.

Likely appeared in all snaps in which Baltimore aligned in 11 or 12 personnel, and only sat on 20 personnel (no TE) plays, according to Pro Football Focus.

While the Chargers have been one of the worst teams at preventing opposing tight ends from racking up yardage and receptions and Likely might have been able to do more, it's rather encouraging and promising to see the second-year man putting up a 4-40 in his first game as the bonafide starter at the position.

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Back in Week 1, when he started a game in Andrews' absence, Likely grabbed his lone target for a gain of 4 yards. Through Week 12, Likely has caught 13 passes out of 18 targets for a total of 129 yards, averaging 9.9 yards per catch.

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