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Mark Andrews cementing his place in Ravens history with outstanding play

A macro look at Andrews’ 2021 performance and his place in franchise history

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens lost their second straight game on Sunday and are injury-riddled on both sides of the ball. Suffice it to say, not everything is peaches and gravy in Baltimore right now. This season has been a bit of a rollercoaster but amidst some of the recent chaos, the strong performance of Mark Andrews continues to stand out.

Andrews caught 11-of-11 targets against the Browns on Sunday for 115 receiving yards. His eight-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, his sixth of the season, put the Ravens in a position to win late.

Almost all of his production came after Lamar Jackson exited the game and Tyler Huntley took over under center. This embodies what has made Andrews so good this season: consistency. When Jackson was at his best earlier in the year and when Jackson was struggling over the past few weeks, Andrews was producing all the same. When Huntley started against the Bears in Week 11, he caught eight passes for 73 yards.

Andrews has played in every single game and has avoided the injury report, which cannot be understated this year more than ever. Rashod Bateman missed the first several games of the season. Sammy Watkins was inactive for a few games. Marquise Brown missed that same Week 11 matchup in Chicago.

Moreover, the running back and offensive tackle positions have been a bit of a crapshoot or revolving door, if you will, for much of the season. Through all of this, Andrews has been one of the few mainstays and reliable contributors.

Following his 115-yard showing on Sunday, he entrenched his place in Ravens history, setting the single-season franchise receiving record for a tight end. Andrews now has 926 receiving yards on the year. The play that broke the record? A 32-yard reception where he dragged multiple Browns’ defenders for more than 20 yards after the catch.

Only in his fourth career season, Andrews already ranks sixth on the Ravens all-time receiving yardage list. He trails Derek Mason, Todd Heap, Torrey Smith, Mark Clayton and Ray Rice. He has bit of ways to go to catch the first two names on the list, but he’s much closer to entering the Top-3 range than you might think —

  1. Derek Mason 5,777 yards
  2. Todd Heap 5,492 yards
  3. Torrey Smith 3,591 yards
  4. Mark Clayton 3,116 yards
  5. Ray Rice 3,034 yards
  6. Mark Andrews 2,916 yards

Andrews needs only 118 more receiving yards to surpass Rice and enter the Top-5, and he’s just 200 yards away on the dot from catching Clayton for No. 4. Based on his production to date, lapping both Rice and Clayton over the next four games seems entirely feasible, if not likely.

By season’s end, we might be talking about Andrews — still only 26 years old and just transitioning off his rookie contract — as the Ravens’ fourth all-time leading receiver, about to overtake Torrey Smith for the third spot. Needless to say, Andrews is quickly climbing up the charts and the sky is the limit.

The now-veteran tight end has taken his game to another level this season, both as a pass-catcher and as a blocker. His importance to the Ravens’ success has never been more prevalent in a year full of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and everything in between.

Does he still drop the occasional “gimme” pass? Sure — but he’s been more sure-handed this year and his sheer dominance at times more than makes up a dropped ball every now and then. Andrews ranks tied for 11th in the NFL in targets this season. His 75 receptions also rank 11th and he’s 13th in receiving yards. Among tight ends alone? No. 1 in receiving yards, No. 1 in receptions and tied for fourth in touchdown catches.

Andrews is playing at a first-team All-Pro level and is earning every penny of the four-year, $56 million contract extension he signed with the Ravens back in September.