The most controversial tackle in the NFL has ended another player’s season.
Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews was dragged down by Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson via a ‘hip-drop’ takedown during the Ravens’ 34-20 home victory on Thursday.
Andrews was forced to leave the game after catching two passes for 23 yards.
“That’s very tough because that’s my boy,” Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson said. “That’s like receiver one sometimes.”
It got even worse for the Ravens (8-3) when head coach John Harbaugh announced after the victory that Andrews is likely done for the year.
“I do have one injury announcement to make, unfortunately on the negative side,” Harbaugh said. “Mark Andrews has a very serious ankle injury. It looks like a season-ending 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.”
Harbaugh questioned the necessity of the tackle, which features a defender using his body weight to take down an offensive player and sometimes sees a defender swinging from side to side.
“It was definitely a hip-drop tackle,” Harbaugh said. “It is being discussed. It’s a tough tackle. Was it even necessary in that situation? The other one on the sideline, there’s always plays that you send in to the league to have them look at and interpret for you.”
NFL executive Jeff Miller said in October that the hip-drop tackle increases risk of injury by 25 times the rate of a standard tackle.
Seattle QB Geno Smith was forced to leave a game in Week 4 after a hip-drop tackle took him down.
“It is an unforgiving behavior and one that we need to try to define and get out of the game,” Miller said. “To quantify it for you, we see an injury more or less every week in the regular season on the hip-drop.”
The NFL has gradually cleaned up its game in recent decades in an attempt to make football safer for players.
The horse-collar tackle was ruled illegal and now receives a 15-yard penalty flag.
“What’s happening on the hip-drop is the defender is encircling tackling the runner and then swinging their weight and falling on the side of their leg, which is their ankle or their knee,” said Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL’s competition committee.
“When they do it, the runner becomes defense-less. They can’t kick their way out from under. And that’s the problem. That’s where the injury occurs. You see the ankle get trapped underneath the weight of the defender.”
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