Regardless of who's playing quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin knows his squad has an arduous task ahead in containing tight end Mark Andrews.
Then again, Tomlin isn't much for pigeonholing Andrews as just a tight end.
"I think to label him as a tight end is kind of disrespectful to his talents," Tomlin told reporters on Tuesday. "He's kind of a No. 1 receiving option. He's like Travis Kelce if you will, or that young guy in Atlanta. Their skillset and the plays that they make are kind of caged in if you describe them in a tight end sort of way. We got some work there to try to minimize him."
Tomlin's teams have minimized Andrews for the most part. In seven career games against the Steelers, Andrews has yet to score a touchdown and has only once caught more than five receptions or tallied more than 50 yards receiving.
Still, Andrews is very much the top-tier target Tomlin is stumping for. Voted to his third Pro Bowl this season, Andrews is once again leading the way for the Ravens receiving corps. He has posted 64 catches for 747 yards and five touchdowns. He has 19 more catches than any other teammate, 322 more yards than any other Raven and three more receiving TDs than his closest teammate.
In the Ravens' playoff-clinching win over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday with quarterback Tyler Huntley at the helm, Andrews had just three catches for 45 yards. Still, he was the only Baltimore player with multiple receptions. Thusly, as QB1 Lamar Jackson has been out since Week 13, Andrews remains the receiving option opposing defenses focus on the most.
"As we prepare, we also acknowledge men like Mark Andrews is a significant guy for them in the passing game, he always has been," Tomlin said. "And even through some of their quarterback instability, continues to be a dangerous vertical threat."
Following his 2018 rookie campaign, Andrews has been Baltimore's leading receiver or tied for the designation every season.
Whether he's a tight end doesn't make a difference, he's the Ravens' go-to target and Tomlin knows his team must shut him down again to improve the chances of emerging from Week 17 with a Steelers win.