Isaiah Likely Steps Up as Ravens TE After Mark Andrews' $56M Injury on TNF

Ravens Face Major Challenge with Andrews' Critical Injury

by Nouman Rasool
Isaiah Likely Steps Up as Ravens TE After Mark Andrews' $56M Injury on TNF
© Patrick Smith/Getty Images

In a pivotal Thursday Night Football clash, the Baltimore Ravens emerged victorious with a 34-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, but not without a significant cost. Tight end Mark Andrews, a key player for the Ravens, suffered a severe ankle injury, casting a shadow over the team's triumph.

The incident occurred early in the game when Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson executed a hip-drop tackle on Andrews. This move, which involves pulling an opponent down while trapping their legs under the defender's weight, left Andrews visibly in pain near the goal line.

He was ruled out of the game before the first quarter concluded.

Andrews' Injury: Season in Jeopardy

Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh expressed grave concerns about Andrews' condition. An initial diagnosis suggested a high-ankle sprain, but the full extent of the injury was to be determined by a scan on Friday.

Harbaugh's post-game comments hinted at the seriousness of the situation, suggesting that Andrews might face a season-ending injury. This turn of events brings Isaiah Likely, the backup tight end, into the limelight. Likely, a fourth-round pick from Coastal Carolina in the 2022 NFL Draft, is now poised to fill the significant void left by Andrews.

Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Likely's journey through Malden and Everett High Schools to Coastal Carolina has been a testament to his dedication and skill. His standout performance in his college's 2021 season, leading in receiving touchdowns, was a key factor in his draft selection.

Likely's rookie season in the NFL showed promise. Participating in 16 games and starting two, he recorded 36 catches for 373 receiving yards and three touchdowns. His growing potential makes him a player to watch as he steps up to start against the Los Angeles Chargers on November 26th.

The debate over the safety of the hip-drop tackle, spotlighted by this injury, continues in the NFL. Similar tackles have led to significant injuries, including to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes last season.

The increasing number of such injuries has sparked discussions about the legality of this tackle method. For the Ravens, losing Andrews is a substantial setback. Since his selection in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Andrews has been a cornerstone of the team's offense, leading in receiving yards for three seasons and earning three Pro Bowl selections.

His absence will undoubtedly be felt, but Likely's emergence offers a glimpse of hope for the team's tight end position.