The Ravens (8-3) defeated the Cincinnati Bengals (5-5) easily on TNF, beating the visitors 34-20 and somehow only losing one player for the season consindering they faced Bengals serial-injurer and (they say) linebacker Logan Wilson on Thursday.
Obviously, the loss of tight end Mark Andrews is going to punt a serious dent on Baltimore's hopes for a deep postseason run this year even though the target of reaching the playoffs is nearly a fait accompli after 11 games.
Andrews is widely known to be Lamar Jackson's favorite target on pass plays. The superstar tight end is now looking to finish the season with a tally of 544 yards on 45 receptions including six for a touchdown. It's a shame, but the NFL won't stop and Baltimore must keep going and look forward to solving this absence as quickly and swiftly as possible.
4 Ravens that will need to step up amid Mark Andrews' season-ending injury
Natural replacement: TE Isaiah Likely
First and foremost, the Ravens will turn to 2022 fourth-round pick Isaiah Likely to fill the void left by Andrews as the next-in-line natural tight end.
As a rookie backup tight end last year, Likely recorded 36 catches, 373 yards, and 3 touchdowns and filled in for Andrews during the two games the latter missed last year getting 9 catches for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Charlie Kolar, the third-string tight end, will become the new backup and he has 4 catches for 49 yards in his career (one for 13 this year).
Secondary WRs: Nelson Agholor, Rashod Bateman, and Odell Beckham
Outside of Likely (and Kolar), the Ravens will need rookie Zay Flowers to keep putting up historic numbers. He has already become the new no. 1 target of Lamar and Flowers leads the team in receptions and yards through Week 11 by a wide margin. That's out of the question.
The three players who will need to step up, along with Isaiah Likely, are wide receivers Nelson Agholor, Rashod Bateman, and Odell Beckham.
Rashod Bateman outsnapped Odell Beckham Jr. in Week 11 (as it's been the case for a few weeks running) and he finished with one reception on two targets for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Odell Beckham is coming off his breakout game of the year, catching four passes for 116 yards, the first time he's broken the 100-yard barrier in a matchup since 2019. He also scored back-to-back touchdowns in the two games before Week 11.
Finally, Nelson Agholor had a bizarre touchdown on TNF when he grabbed a tipped pass bringing it all the way home for a 37-yard score on his lone target on the day.
It is not going to be easy to replace the production of Andrews, of course, but between the deep wide receiver room, a pair of young-but-talented backup tight ends, and a loaded backfield (aided by the rushing prowess of Lamar Jackson) the Ravens should have enough to build a strong run toward the Super Bowl game next February.