When Isaiah Likely saw Mark Andrews go down with an ankle injury in Thursday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he knew it was bad. Likely rushed to Andrews' side and took a knee next to him.
"One thing I know about Mark is he can tolerate pain," Likely said. "So when he was down and not getting up, I took a knee and stayed next to him the whole time. They had to basically pull me away. I was telling him, 'Get up, Mark. C'mon Mark, show me you can get up.' Him not getting up, it really started to hurt. Our leader was on the floor."
Andrews limped off the field and to the locker room, seemingly refusing assistance from the Ravens' medical staff. After the game, however, Head Coach John Harbaugh confirmed the worst – a likely season-ending ankle injury.
"Mark Andrews has a very serious ankle injury. It looks like a season-ending injury," Harbaugh announced after the Ravens' 34-20 win. "I think it's a form of a high ankle [injury], but more than just a sprain."
On Friday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Andrews suffered a cracked fibula and ankle ligament injury.
"Our prayers will be with Mark. Nobody cares more about the team and being there for the guys than Mark Andrews. So this is going to be hard for him, but we're going to be there for him all the way."
The injury happened just four minutes into the game when Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson rolled up on Andrews' ankle when making a tackle from behind. It was a hip-drop tackle and Harbaugh raised concern about such tackles after the game. Wilson also injured Lamar Jackson's ankle with the same kind of tackle.
Andrews had already caught a 14-yard pass on the Ravens' first play from scrimmage and had a 9-yard gain on the play he was injured on. He has once again been a leading offensive weapon with 43 catches for 521 yards and a team-high six receiving touchdowns entering the game.
"We've been bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly – whatever you want to call it," Jackson said. "It's very tough, because that's my boy. That's receiver [No.] 1 sometimes.
"I was hoping he was going to get up. I know how he [does], but when he went down, he was just laying there with that confused look on his face. I was like, 'That's my boy.' I don't want to see that happen to anybody, not just him. That's my boy."
With Andrews sidelined, second-year tight ends Isaiah Likely and Charlie Kolar step into much bigger roles. Likely has nine catches for 89 yards so far this season but played well when Andrews was sidelined for chunks of last year. Kolar caught one pass for 13 yards against the Bengals after Andrews' exit.
Moreso, the extra targets in the Ravens' passing game will likely be spread among the top four wide receivers, Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, and Nelson Agholor. Beckham topped 100 yards for the first time as a Raven and Bateman and Agholor scored touchdowns Thursday night.
But there's no doubt that there is no replacing Andrews and all he means to the Ravens.
"He's going to be missed as a leader," Harbaugh said. "He's a fiery, emotional guy. He's an energy-bringer every single day, so we're going to have to all make up for that, too."