Lamar Jackson Expresses His Love for His Brother, Mark Andrews
At the podium on Thursday night, Lamar Jackson shared how he felt with the loss of Mark Andrews in the first quarter against the Bengals. But in a late-night interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King, Jackson opened up more on the subject.
Here are some highlights from that conversation:
On what Jackson saw…
"It's like, somebody just hurt my brother. And we gotta make something happen tonight, with him going down. I was ticked off. I was ticked off. I knew we couldn't lose this game now, know what I mean?"
On the team response…
"Guys in this room saw a superstar go down and it's like, 'Okay, my time to step up.' Not just tight end group, but the whole offense. All of them. That's our brother. The whole locker room, a brotherhood. Defense, special teams, offense. I believe everybody was like, 'We gotta put points on the board. It's not going down like this. No matter what go on throughout the game just put points on the board.'"
On if he said anything at Andrews at halftime, or after the game…
"I texted him. I really didn't say nothing to him at halftime. I didn't go back there [to the trainers' room]. I was here and just telling everyone to stay locked in. There's two more quarters left. Seen what happened to us Sunday [a late loss to Cleveland] and I know how it sounds, but we gotta stay locked in. But I texted him. I told him, 'Bro, we love you brother. I love you. I'm pissed off. I'm very pissed off about that situation.' We're gonna have to do it without him. It's hard to say that though. That's hard to text that especially to Mark. I can't even describe just seeing him before the game …"
On moving forward
"But we're still chasing February. We will finish this season strong. I'll step up. We'll all step up. I'll talk to the guys a lot more, even though I've been doing it all season. I still feel like we got the guys to do it even though our brother went down. We got guys who're gonna step up in this locker room. We still got a determination because we came so far with him. We gotta come out with that same determination. I can promise we will. We just gotta fight each and every game. We will fight. Yes sir."
Jackson's Time to 'Take the Next Step,' Lead Ravens to Super Bowl
As Jackson said, he knows he'll have to "step up" to overcome the loss of Andrews.
Jackson has already been playing at a high level this season, but losing his right-hand-man is a new challenge.
"So now a burden falls on Jackson's shoulders. The Ravens shelled out record-breaking compensation. Can Jackson deliver a championship?" wrote William C. Rhoden of ESPN’s Andscape.
"The next step for Jackson is carrying the Ravens to the Super Bowl."
Andrews has been Jackson's top target the past several years, a player he has leaned on in clutch situations and the red zone. Andrews leads the Ravens with six touchdown catches this season, twice as many as anybody else on the team.
The question now is whether Jackson and the Ravens' offense can still thrive without Andrews.
"Yes, they have additional weapons, but Mark Andrews was an old reliable. That's basically your No. 1 guy, your No. 1 target, your safety net. … If that is a weapon that Lamar Jackson has been comfortable with, who Lamar Jackson has relied on, now you've got to rely on someone else," Stephen A. Smith of ESPN said.
"You might have to do something a bit different, which will call upon Lamar Jackson's willingness to do it, Todd Monken's willingness to do it as well, and their ability to execute. I don't think their season is finished, but I do think this is a devastating blow. When you're talking about going up against the elite, this could end up costing Baltimore more than we realize."
Edelman: The Ravens are Going to Represent the AFC in the Super Bowl
Even before the dust had settled for Week 11, former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was bullish on the Ravens.
"The Baltimore Ravens are going to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl with the way they're playing right now," Edelman said.
"You look at their defense, they're top five in points allowed [and] yards per game," Edelman said. "They're top 10 in third down. They're top three in the red area. Their situational defense [is] insane."
Edelman has done his homework, as the Ravens defense is ranked No. 4 with 16.1 points per game allowed and No. 3 in yards per game allowed, with 273.5.
"And that's not even talking about the offense and Lamar Jackson and how he's playing," said Edelman.
The Ravens offense is No. 5 in points per game (27.6), top 10 in yards per game (366.5) and ranks No. 4 in touchdown scoring in the red zone, converting 65% of their red zone appearances into touchdowns.
And though Edelman is a bit worried about the loss of Andrews, he closed in saying the Ravens, once more, will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
"The one thing that makes me a little scared is that Mark Andrews injury," he said. "He's the safety blanket for Lamar. He's a comfort factor for him. He brings toughness to that offense. But the emergence of Zay Flowers, who's been balling these last few weeks. And you gotta watch out for OBJ when the lights shine bright, OBJ's going to be out there. … The Ravens are going to be representing them AFC's."
Could Cleveland Be the Ravens' Biggest Divisional Threat?
On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 13-10. It marked the first time in franchise history for the Browns that they defeated the Ravens and Steelers in consecutive weeks.
With those back-to-back wins, the Browns now find themselves a half-game back on the Ravens for the AFC North crown, which begs the question if it's the Browns, not the Bengals or Steelers, that pose the greatest divisional challenge for Baltimore.
The Athletic's Ted Nguyen and Mike Jones both got into how the Browns won on Sunday and what they're made of for the remainder of the 2023 season.
"The defense is special, and it'll keep them in games. If Thompson-Robinson can do enough to get them into the playoffs, they'll be a tough out, but they won't be favored against the AFC's top teams," Nguyen wrote. "They've put themselves in a good position at 7-3, but it'll be a tough road the rest of the way. Realistically, they'll just be a team no one wants to see late in the season or in the playoffs."
"I won't call them legit contenders in the AFC. While Dorian Thompson-Robinson did a solid job of managing the game against Pittsburgh, you're going to need more to go toe-to-toe with the elite teams in the conference," Jones wrote. "The Browns will certainly give some teams problems because of their defense. But let's not act like they just neutralized a high-powered offense. Kenny Pickett is a shaky quarterback, and the Steelers offense is anemic."
Hours after the Browns victory, news broke of their signing of former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who will join their practice squad and is likely to be called up in the near future.
The Ravens are all too familiar with Flacco helming a team built around hard-nosed running and a stifling defense entering the playoffs. But it's been a decade since Flacco's "elite" playoff performance helped win the Ravens their second Super Bowl.