Rick Gosselin’s 2021 NFL Special Teams Rankings

Fourth crown for John Harbaugh, first for his special teams coach Chris Horton

(Published February 2022)

The Las Vegas Raiders returned to the playoffs this season for the first time since 2016. They can thank their special teams for that, in particular their placekicker Daniel Carlson.

The Raiders won 10 games this season to claim a wild-card spot in the AFC. The foot of Carlson was responsible for half of those victories. He won three games with overtime field goals – a 22-yarder to beat Miami in Week 3, a 33-yarder to beat Dallas in Week 12 and a 47-yarder to beat the Chargers in Week 18 – and also kicked a 48-yarder at the gun to beat Cleveland in Week 15 and a 33-yarder at the gun to beat Indianapolis in Week 17.

Placekickers around the NFL proved their value in 2021. Twenty times this season an NFL placekicker lined up for a potential game-winning field goal on the game’s final play and converted 18 of them, including three apiece by Carlson, Evan McPherson of the Bengals and Younghoe Koo of the Falcons. Justin Tucker also kicked an NFL-record 66-yarder in Week 3 to beat Detroit on the final play, 19-17.

Another five NFL games in 2021 were won on field goals in the final 40 seconds of games and another eight were won on field goals in overtime. Teams that short-change special teams short-change their chances of victory.

The Ravens, whose head coach John Harbaugh has a rich history as an NFL special teams coach, have never short-changed the kicking game. Which is why Baltimore again finished first in the NFL special-teams rankings compiled annually by Rick Gosselin for the last 43 years. The Ravens have finished in the Top 5 in these rankings in eight of the last nine seasons, also winning in 2015.

The league’s 32 teams are ranked in 22 kicking-game categories and assigned points according to their standing – one for best, 32 for worst. The Ravens compiled 241.5 points to finish 30.5 better than the runnerup Indianapolis Colts at 272. Playoff teams Kansas City, Dallas, Buffalo, Las Vegas and Cincinnati all finished in the Top 11.

The Ravens, under special teams coach Chris Horton, finished first in five of the 22 categories. They also finished in the Top 5 in four other categories and the Top 10 in five others. Tucker was voted to the AFC Pro Bowl team – one of two Baltimore special-teamers so honored. Devin Duvernay also was selected as the return specialist after leading the NFL in punt returns with his 13.8-yard average.

Only four teams did not suffer any negative plays on special teams – no blocked kicks, turnovers or return touchdowns: Detroit, the New York Giants, Seattle and Tampa Bay. The Seahawks finished third in the rankings, the Lions seventh, the Bills ninth and the Buccaneers 29th.

This marks the second consecutive season Indianapolis and Seattle have finished in the Top 5 and the second consecutive season Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans have finished in the Top 10. The Kansas City Chiefs charted the biggest jump from one season to the next, moving up from 20th in 2020 to fifth in 2021.

The 2021 Rankings

RankTeamScore
1Baltimore241.5
2Indianapolis272
3Seattle276
4Kansas City298.5
5New Orleans299.5
6Dallas301
7Detroit310.5
8Buffalo316.5
9Chicago330
10NY Giants332
11Las Vegas333.5
12Cincinnati341
13NY Jets343
14Houston346
15Minnesota347
16LA Rams350
17Pittsburgh364.5
18New England376.5
19Tennessee377
20Washington384.5
21Philadelphia385.5
22Miami393
23Atlanta408.5
24Jacksonville409.5
25San Francisco414
26Arizona419.5
27Denver421
28Carolina428.5
29Tampa Bay429
30Cleveland443
31LA Chargers444
32Green Bay482.5

Here’s a breakdown of the 22 categories:

KICKOFF RETURNS

Best: NY Jets, 27.4 yards

Worst: Denver, 16.2 yards

PUNT RETURNS

Best: Baltimore, 13.8 yards

Worst: LA Chargers, 5.9 yards

KICKOFF COVERAGE

Best: NY Giants, 17.810 yards

Worst: Denver, 39.4 yards

PUNT COVERAGE

Best: Kansas City, 4.9 yards

Worst: Green Bay, 12.8 yards

KICKOFF STARTNG POINT

Best: Seattle, 26.8-yard line

Worst: Green Bay, 23.4-yard line

OPPONENT STARTING POINT

Best: Cleveland, 23.2-yard line

Worst: Jacksonville, 30.1-yard line

PUNTING

Best: Las Vegas, 50.0 yards

Worst: Tampa Bay, 42.0 yards

NET PUNTING

Best: Dallas, 44.6 yards

Worst: LA Chargers, 36.5 yards

INSIDE-THE-20 PUNTS

Best: Seattle, 40

Worst: Arizona, LA Chargers, 12 apiece

OPPONENT PUNTING

Best: NY Jets, 41.9 yards

Worst: Denver, 50.4

OPPONENT NET PUNTING

Best: Chicago, 37.2 yards

Worst: Denver, 43.9 yards

FIELD GOALS

Best: Las Vegas, 40

Worst: Cleveland, 16

FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE

Best: Baltimore, 94.5 percent

Worst: Cleveland, 72.2 percent

OPPONENT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE

Best: New England, 66.6 percent

Worst: Cleveland, 96.2 percent

EXTRA POINT PERCENTAGE

Best: Buffalo, 100 percent

Worst: New Orleans, 81.5 percent

POINTS SCORED

Best: Dallas, Indianapolis 18 points apiece

Worst: 17 teams tied with 0 points

POINTS ALLOWED

Best: 17 teams tied with 0

Worst: Jacksonville, 24 points

BLOCKED KICKS

Best: Dallas, 5

Worst: 11 teams tied with 0

OPPONENT BLOCKED KICKS

Best: 15 teams tied with 0

Worst: Washington, 6

TAKEAWAYS

Best: Buffalo, 3

Worst: 12 teams tied with 0

GIVEAWAYS

Best: 13 teams tied with 0

Worst: Miami, 4

PENALTIES

Best: Indianapolis, 2 penalties, 25 yards

Worst: NY Jets, 20 penalties, 191 yards

30 Comments
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  5. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

  6. […] 2019. Presencia y confianza John Harbaugh, ex Coordinador de Equipos Especiales. Cuervos terminados 1 en el ranking de equipos especiales de Rick Gosselin en 2021Y no solo por todo el pateador del mundo justin tucker. Harbaugh le dio a Horton la propiedad de la […]

  7. […] 2019. Kehadiran dan kepercayaan diri John Harbaugh, mantan Koordinator Tim Khusus. Gagak selesai 1 di peringkat tim khusus Rick Gosselin pada tahun 2021Dan bukan hanya karena semua penendang dunia Justin Tuker. Harbaugh memberi Horton kepemilikan atas […]

  8. […] 2019. Presenza e fiducia John Harbaugh, ex coordinatore delle squadre speciali. I corvi sono finiti 1 nella classifica delle squadre speciali di Rick Gosselin nel 2021E non solo a causa di tutto il kicker mondiale Justin Tucker. Harbaugh ha dato a Horton la […]

  9. […] Hortonis on kohal ja usaldab endine erimeeskondade koordinaator John Harbaugh. Ravens lõpetas Ei. 2021. aastal Rick Gosselini erimeeskondade edetabelis 1ja mitte ainult kogu maailma kickeri tõttu Justin Tucker. Harbaugh andis Hortonile operatsiooni […]

  10. […] i pewność Johna Harbaugha, byłego koordynatora zespołów specjalnych. Kruki skończone 1 w rankingu drużyn specjalnych Ricka Gosselina w 2021 rokuI to nie tylko z powodu całego światowego kickera Justina Tuckera. Harbaugh przekazał Hortonowi […]

  11. […] in 2019. Presence and confidence John Harbaugh, former Special Teams Coordinator. Crows finished 1 on the Rick Gosselin special teams rankings in 2021And not just because of all the world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh gave Horton ownership of the […]

  12. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished Yeah. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over the […]

  13. […] Präsenz und Selbstvertrauen John Harbaugh, ehemaliger Special Teams Coordinator. Krähen fertig 1 in der Rangliste der Spezialteams von Rick Gosselin im Jahr 2021Und das nicht nur wegen aller Weltkicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh gab Horton das Eigentum an der […]

  14. […] and confidence from John Harbaugh, himself a former special teams coordinator. The ravens are done #1 in Rick Gosselin’s Special Teams Rankings in 2021and not just because of All-World-Kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh gave Horton ownership of the […]

  15. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

  16. […] The presence and belief of former particular groups coordinator John Harbaugh.ravens completed #1 in 2021 Rick Gosselin Special Teams Rankingsand not only for kickers all around the world Justin TuckerHarbaugh gave Horton possession of the […]

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  18. […] yerini aldı. Varlık ve güven John Harbaugh, eski Özel Tim Koordinatörü. Kargalar bitti 2021’de Rick Gosselin özel takımlar sıralamasında 1 numaraVe sadece tüm dünya kicker yüzünden değil Justin Tucker. Harbaugh, Horton’a operasyonun […]

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  20. […] Aanwezigheid en vertrouwen John Harbaugh, voormalig coördinator speciale teams. Kraaien klaar 1 op de ranglijst van speciale teams van Rick Gosselin in 2021En niet alleen vanwege de hele wereld kicker Justin Tukker. Harbaugh gaf Horton het eigendom van de […]

  21. […] in samozavest Johna Harbaugha, nekdanjega koordinatorja posebnih skupin. Ravens so končali Številka 1 na lestvici posebnih ekip Ricka Gosselina v letu 2021pa ne samo zaradi svetovnega kickerja Justin Tucker. Harbaugh je Hortonu dal lastništvo nad […]

  22. […] de John Harbaugh, lui-même ancien coordinateur des équipes spéciales. Les Ravens ont terminé Non. 1 au classement des équipes spéciales de Rick Gosselin en 2021, et pas seulement à cause du botteur mondial Justin Tucker. Harbaugh a donné à Horton la […]

  23. […] the belief of John Harbaugh, a former particular groups coordinator himself. The Ravens completed No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s particular groups rankings in 2021, and never simply due to all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton possession over […]

  24. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

  25. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

  26. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

  27. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

  28. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

  29. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

  30. […] and the trust of John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself. The Ravens finished No. 1 in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings in 2021, and not just because of all-world kicker Justin Tucker. Harbaugh has given Horton ownership over […]

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