BALTIMORE — When it starts to break down for the Ravens’ offense, their second-year quarterback almost always seems to look in the direction of a second-year tight end.
The chemistry between quarterback Lamar Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews has been apparent since last season. Either can go off script, but somehow the two remain on the same page.
“We kind of had a chemistry that started last year and during the offseason,” Jackson said after Baltimore’s 23-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. “I tell Mark all the time, ‘We’re going to play street ball.’”
Lamar Jackson: “I could’ve been better. There’s a lot of passes I want back.” Andrews described his ‘street ball’ style as reading the defense and taking what it gives to him. Most importantly, it requires Jackson so see the same thing.
“It’s chemistry. It’s the way he sees the game and the way I see the game. It’s very similar,” Andrews said. “Say I have an out-route, but the guy ends up outside. I’ll just sit it or something like that. [It’s] just being able to play smart ball.”
Andrews caught eight passes for 112 yards and one touchdown Sunday. Through two games, he has 16 receptions for 220 and a pair of touchdowns.
“[He had] huge third-down conversions, third-and-longs a couple of times,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “Boy, Mark has a feel for the passing game. He did a great job.”
The tight end scored the game’s first points Sunday, capping a 94-yard touchdown drive with a 27-yard catch from Jackson. Andrews somehow eluded the defense, and nearly walked into the end zone untouched.
“It was a great play call. That’s a schemed-up thing. That was something that we saw that we thought we could try to exploit in their defense,” he said. “Credit to the coaches for seeing stuff like that. It’s not easy to do to create plays like that and just basically walking into the end zone.”
Of Andrews’ 16 catches this season, 12 have gone for first downs.
“That’s the money down,” he said of his third-down effectiveness. “I pride myself on being able to get open and make plays. I think they have a lot of trust in me in those situations.”
Andrews is tied for the most first-down receptions in the NFL and his 220 yards receiving are the most among tight ends in the league through two weeks. Six of his catches have gone for more than 20 yards, also tied for a league best.
On Sunday, Andrews became the only tight end in Ravens’ history to post back-to-back 100-yard games.
“For me, it’s one of those things, if they come, they come. If I get a lot of catches, and I get a lot of yards, it happens,” he said, downplaying the achievement. “I put in a lot of work in the offseason and had a good training camp. The coaches have great play calls, and Lamar is throwing great balls. It’s a team effort.”
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