Ravens’ Mark Andrews hits record speed in his pursuit of Bengals’ Sam Hubbard on a playoff 98-yard touchdown

Ravens’ Mark Andrews hits record speed in his pursuit of Bengals’ Sam Hubbard on a playoff 98-yard touchdown

Ravens’ Mark Andrews hits record speed in his pursuit of Bengals’ Sam Hubbard on a playoff 98-yard touchdown

While recording what is now the longest fumble return for a score in playoff history, Sam Hubbard had one constant thought in mind.

Hubbard, who picked up Tyler Huntley’s fumble on the Bengals’ goal line before racing wildly towards the Ravens’ end zone late in Sunday’s Super Wild Card weekend game, was watching the Ravens tight end Mark Andrews sprints down in an attempt to stop him. to make history and move Cincinnati forward for good.

“I was watching on the big screen. I was like, ‘He’s coming, somebody block him, please don’t get caught,'” Hubbard said. “That’s all I was thinking.”

Luckily for Hubbard, Andrews, despite being clocked at a record speed of 20.72 miles per hour by NextGenStats, was unable to make up the distance as Hubbard scored to give the Bengals a 24-minute lead. -17, an advantage they wouldn’t give up. . Hubbard’s hustle and the presence of Markus Bailey prevented Andrews from catching up on needed ground.

Hubbard, who ran a total of 123 yards on the return, was clocked at 17.4 mph on the play. While not as fast as Andrews’ top speed, he was good enough to complete the fourth-longest defensive score in playoff history.

“I wish I had gone into the 18s,” Wilson joked. “I’ve been up there. Me and Trey (Hendrickson) actually try to hit our top speeds after practice on Thursdays every week. He’s usually in the 20s. I try to get into the 18s, but I got hit for my 4.95 (40-yard dash) at the combine, and I don’t think it matters much now.”

Hubbard’s touchdown came after it appeared the Ravens were poised to take the lead in a home-and-away playoff rivalry. But instead of a Baltimore score, the Ravens fell victim to one-on-one plays by Hubbard and Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson, who forced the fumble.

“Based on how far they were from the goal line, I knew they were in stealth formation,” Wilson said. “There was going to be space and time before he could get the ball across the goal line. I just made a play on the ball, G (Germaine Pratt) helped make a play on the ball and get it out, and Sam (Hubbard) was able to get it down to the other end zone. It was amazing.”

Although his hustle was not rewarded with a tackle, Andrews’ effort on the play is nonetheless remarkable. One of the best tight ends in the NFL, Andrews made several big plays on Sunday night, including that 25-yard catch moments before Hubbard’s game-winning score.

“Yeah, it’s just tough,” Andrews said after being asked about Hubbard’s touchdown. “You watch the attack, and we move the ball, and make big plays, people do their job, and get on that one – or whatever – and sneak it, and make it happen. .. just a weird thing. And for them to turn around and get seven – it’s basically a 14-point swing – it’s tough.

“With all that being said, we were still in the game. The guys fought hard and kept fighting hard no matter what, and you like to see that from your guys, man. I’m great proud of this team. I’m delighted that this team is coming back and getting better.”

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