The Baltimore Ravens have essentially played three games without Mark Andrews, and they have had time to prepare for two full games, including one game off of a bye week. The sample size is small, to say the least, but there has been one difference in Lamar Jackson’s play since the injury.
Lamar Jackson is throwing the ball away more without Mark Andrews
Lamar Jackson has 14 throwaways all season, per PFF. That would include nine in the last three weeks. So, he had just five in the first 10 games, a 1.8% throwaway rate per attempt. That number has been up to 8.9% since Mark Andrews's injury.
It is hard to look at that significant difference, see the timing of when he started to throw the ball away more, and not think that Mark Andrews has anything to do with it. Andrews is Jackson's safety blanket and the guy that he goes to when things break down. He is starting to trust Zay Flowers in these moments, and he hit a couple of bombs this past week, but his man when there was trouble has always been Mark Andrews.
Now that he does not have that, he is more prone to bailing on the play and saving it for another down.
While this could be a direct effect of Andrews, it could also be Jackson protecting himself. His pressure-to-sack rate was 20.7% in the first ten weeks of the season. Last year, it was 20.9%, and for his career, it is 19.7%, so he lives in this area. However, in the last three weeks his pressure-to-sack rate is just 13.7%. This is obviously one of the better stretches he has had.
So, the alternate theory is that Jackson knows that with the Ravens' record and their defense, he just needs to get into the playoffs healthy for their team to have a chance. With that in mind, he is taking sacks about 7% less often and throwing the ball away about 7%.
You can even argue that Jackson is more prone to taking sacks when Andrews is in the lineup because he believes he can buy that extra second for a trusted receiver like Andrews, but he does not have that same faith in the others, so he gets the rid of the ball more often.
Either way, this will be worth following because Jackson will need someone to come up with big plays when things break down when the playoffs come around.