Ravens special teams ranked No. 1 in end-of-the-year rankings

Ravens, Justin Tucker Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Justin Tucker Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens have long prided themselves on having one of the best special-teams units in the NFL. The likes of Justin Tucker and Sam Koch have dominated at their respective positions for the better part of the last decade-plus.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more consistently excellent and reliable special-teams unit in the NFL over the last 10+ years. That remained the case in 2021.

Sports Illustrated’s Rick Gosselin recently released his end-of-the-year special-teams rankings for the 2021 season and it should come as no surprise that the Ravens ended up on top.

The Ravens earned a cumulative grade of 241.5 which ranked first, comfortably ahead of teams like the Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks who finished a distant second and third.

The Ravens still have the best special-teams unit in the NFL

The Ravens finished first in five of the 22 categories that Gosselin listed, top-five in four other categories, and top-10 in five others. There wasn’t a single aspect of special teams that the Ravens underperformed at.

Pro Bowl return man Devin Duvernay helped the Ravens lead the NFL with an average of 13.8 yards per punt return. Duvernay emerged as one of the best returners in the league this season and was honored with his first Pro Bowl nod.

He wasn’t the only Ravens special-teamer to make the Pro Bowl, however. The ever-incredible Justin Tucker was named to his fifth career Pro Bowl and voted first-team All-Pro for the fifth time.

Tucker led the NFL with a 94.6 field-goal percentage including his NFL-record 66-yarder against the Detroit Lions in Week 4. The 32-year-old also didn’t miss an extra point as he paced the NFL in both field-goal and extra-point percentage.

It was an all-around superb season for the Ravens’ special-teams unit, not that anyone should be surprised. Tucker is the greatest kicker of all time, Sam Koch remains a well-above-average punter even at age 39, and Duvernay has proved to be one of the best returners in football.

Not to mention the always-reliable Nick Moore and key special-teamers like Chris Board who make an impact on a weekly basis. Of course, it never hurts to have a highly-touted special-teams coordinator in Chris Horton or a head coach with a special-teams background in John Harbaugh.

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The Ravens continue to put a heavy emphasis on their special teams, and it continues to pay dividends.