OWINGS MILLS — The Ravens activated tight end Mark Andrews from injured reserve on Friday, which could be a huge boost for the offense heading into the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at 3 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.
Andrews returned to practice last week as a full participant, but he did not think he was ready for the divisional playoff game against the Texans on Saturday. The Ravens scored 24 consecutive points in the second half and routed Houston, 34-10.
Andrews was back on the practice field again this week and was listed on the team’s injury report as a full participant. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been cagey about Andrews’ availability against Kansas City, but the three-time Pro Bowler showed that he is healthy enough to return to the Ravens’ lineup.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is looking forward to having Andrews back in the lineup for one of the biggest games in franchise history.
“That’s my bread and butter, big bro, and it would definitely mean a lot,” Jackson said about Andrews earlier in the week. “With Mark and the type of guy he is, the type of caliber player he is, and what he brings to the table for us, it would definitely mean a lot for us.”
Andrews suffered a fractured fibula and ligament damage in his left ankle against Cincinnati on a controversial hip-drop tackle by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson on November 16th. Despite missing six games, Andrews still ranked second on the team with 45 receptions for 544 yards and six touchdowns, best among the receivers.
Fellow tight end Isaiah Likely has scored six touchdowns in seven games since Andrews was sidelined.
Now, Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken can expand the playbook with two tight ends capable of stretching the field. Monken would not tip his hand about using Andrews and Likely, but the two players could create matchup problems for the Chiefs.
“Sure. I think all that figures in,” Monken said. “How well Likely has played and then, leading up to each [week] – like last week – or leading up to this week, how Mark has practiced, that all leads into … [It’s] at every position really – who’s healthy, how do we anticipate that fitting into our gameplan, how can we incorporate them.”