It’s a new year and new look for the Baltimore Ravens offense. Quarterback Lamar Jackson has remained healthy and has return to his MVP-caliber of play. Even though star TE Mark Andrews is expected to miss a stretch of games after leaving the team’s Week 11 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, Jackson has kept the Baltimore offense afloat with a refreshed passing attack.
Andrews is individually important to the Ravens offense as any pass catcher in the NFL. He’s a number one receiver despite being labeled as a tight end—similar to Travis Kelce for the Kansas City Chiefs. In just 10 games Andrews has accumulated 45 catches for 544 yards and six touchdowns. The catches and yards rank second on the team. His touchdowns are the most for Baltimore by double the next closest individual.
But the veteran has missed two games so far this season and the Ravens offense seemingly hasn’t missed a beat.
LAMAR TO ZAY FLOWERS DEEEEEP!— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) September 17, 2023
WHAT A THROW AND CATCH
One contributing factor to Baltimore’s success without their number one pass catching target is Jackson being surrounded by what could be the best receiver corps he’s had so far in his career. The Ravens invested in a sizeable (albeit one-year) free agent contract with Odell Beckham, Jr. They selected shifty receiver Zay Flowers in the first round of this spring’s NFL Draft. Former first round pick Rashod Batemen has started flashing his pedigree more frequently. Nelson Agholor has carved out a role as a journeyman deep threat and can make you pay for focusing too much attention on the other chess pieces.
The Ravens are able to spread the ball around more than they ever have. They are no longer over reliant on a steady ground attack, and when they have to pass they have a wealth of capable options.
While Flowers’ numbers so far this year are nowhere near as impressive as Los Angeles Rams rookie phenom Puka Nacua, he’s leading Baltimore in terms of total volume. He has 58 receptions for 613 yards and two touchdown scores. When Andrews isn’t in the lineup, Flowers averages an additional three targets per game.
Small sample size, but.... Zay Flowers with and without Mark Andrews pic.twitter.com/qdcPmb8jNN— Tom Strachan (@NFL_TStrack) December 7, 2023
Beckham is heating up of late too, and he adds a reliable but explosive threat to an offense that may miss Andrews’ steadiness to a degree. In his first six games this season, OBJ caught only 14 passes for 162 yards without a TD. In his most recent four games he has 13 receptions for 246 yards and two scores. He’s starting to reward Baltimore for their free agent investment, and it’s coming at a very important time for an offense in a state of flux.
While Mark Andrews is as individually important as any pass catcher or tight end in the NFL, the Ravens have a wealth of receiving options and are prepared for his absence. This will make life difficult for the Rams defense this upcoming weekend.