Tue, 24 May 2022

By the Numbers: Ravens' 2021 Season

Baltimore Ravens
21 Jan 2022, 22:25 GMT+10

Clifton Brown

Catches by first-team All-Pro Mark Andrews, setting the Ravens single-season record for catches and receiving yards (1,361). Andrews had an historic year by any measure. Only two tight ends in NFL history had more catches in a season - Zach Ertz (116) in 2018 and Jason Witten (110) in 2012. Ex-Raven Darren Waller equaled Andrews with 107 catches in 2020. But in 2021, Andrews had no peer at his position.

Games played by All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who was shut down after Week 1 and underwent more surgery on his injured ankle. His absence forced Alejandro Villanueva to move from right to left tackle, part of a domino effect that made the entire season more challenging for the offensive line. The health of Stanley will be a key for the Ravens heading into 2022.

Ravens who made first-team All-Pro: Andrews, kicker Justin Tucker and returner Devin Duvernay. Tucker added to his Hall of Fame-worthy resume with a NFL record-setting 66-yard field goal against the Detroit Lions that was one of the season's feel-good moments. Duvernay, who didn't return punts in college, became the league's best returner and made strides as a second-year wide receiver.

Games Baltimore lost by two points or fewer, all during the final six weeks. The Ravens showed great resiliency all season, but losing close games was their undoing. Baltimore tied the 1984 Chiefs, 2000 Chargers, 2002 Jaguars and 2013 Cowboys for most losses by two points or less in NFL history. What else did those hard-luck teams have in common? None of them made the playoffs.

Ravens rookies who played at least 350 snaps - Brandon Stephens (744), Odafe Oweh (615), Rashod Bateman (604) and Ben Cleveland (367). Stephens stepped into a starting role after DeShon Elliott's injury. Oweh had five sacks and was an AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Bateman (46 catches, 515 yards) was a playmaker despite missing the first five games, and Cleveland made four starts at left guard. The 2021 draft class brought the Ravens another crop of talented young players.

Games the Ravens played against teams that finished with a winning record. Baltimore's 2021 schedule was as challenging as it looked on paper when it was released, particularly the final stretch. The Ravens' last four opponents all made the playoffs -- (Packers, Bengals, Rams, Steelers) and three of those teams advanced to the divisional round.

Lamar Jackson's regular-season career record as a starter. Jackson turned 25 on Jan. 7 and has more wins before turning that age than any quarterback in league history. Tyler Huntley had strong moments in place of Jackson, but the Ravens were 1-4 in 2021 without their franchise quarterback. Jackson's continued development and contract status will be talking points during the offseason. But an ankle injury that ended his season on Dec. 12 was a huge turning point that damaged Baltimore's playoff hopes.

Rushing yards allowed per game by Baltimore, the fewest in the NFL. The defensive line rotation was solid led by Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, who are both pending free agents. Patrick Queen led the team in tackles (98) and played faster and with more impact after moving to WILL linebacker, and Bowser and Josh Bynes were steady all season.

Takeaways by the Ravens defense, the second fewest in team history and tied for the third fewest in the league. Baltimore had a minus 11 takeaway/giveaway ratio, worse than any of the 14 playoff qualifiers, and only three games where they forced more than one turnover. Losing Marcus Peters for the season and Marlon Humphrey for the final five games robbed Baltimore of its top two takeaway artists down the stretch.

Players who were on injured reserve, as the injury bug never stopped biting. Peters, J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Derek Wolfe, L.J. Fort and Justice Hill never played a down in 2021, and that was just the beginning. Tyus Bowser's injury in Week 18 was the last cruel blow to a team that kept losing key players. If there's a way to stay healthier next season, the Ravens will be searching to find it.

Where the Ravens ranked defensively against the pass, finishing last in that category, allowing 278.9 yards per game. Once again, injuries were a big part of this story as the secondary was severely depleted by late in the season. The Ravens were forced to use exotic coverages to defend playmakers like Ja'Marr Chase, Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams and Diontae Johnson down the stretch.

Sacks the Ravens registered, which tied for 22nd in the league. While sacks don't tell the entire story of a pass rush, only two playoff teams had fewer, the Chiefs (31) and Eagles (29). Bowser had a career-high 7.0 sacks, Oweh (5.0) showed great promise and Justin Houston (4.5) led Baltimore with 17 quarterback hits. However, getting quarterbacks on the ground more often will be a goal in 2022.

Tucker's NFL-record 66-yard field goal against Detroit in Week 3 was a signature moment in his brilliant career. The most accurate kicker in NFL history has made at least 30 field goals in eight straight seasons, more than any kicker in league history. But Tucker's game-winner against the Lions was extraordinary even for him, part of the momentum that helped Baltimore to a 5-1 start.

Sacks allowed, the most in team history. Opponents ramped up the blitz pressure against Baltimore after the Dolphins had much success in Week 10. Jackson was sacked a career-high seven times against Pittsburgh in Week 13, and while some sacks were caused by the quarterbacks holding onto the ball too long, many drives stalled because Jackson and Huntley were under too much duress.

Snaps played by right guard Kevin Zeitler, which led the Ravens. Signed as a free agent, Zeitler was exactly what the Ravens expected and more - durable, physical and their most consistent performer on the offensive line. Starting center Bradley Bozeman is a pending free agent and the composition of the starting offensive line in 2022 remains to be seen. However, at right guard there is no uncertainty.

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