Baltimore Ravens 2021 Season Awards

Ravens 2021 Awards

The Baltimore Ravens 2021 was a rollercoaster ride. After starting 8-3 and holding the number-one seed in the AFC prior to Week 13, the Ravens collapsed. Baltimore ended the year losing six straight games and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

The injury bug hit head coach John Harbaugh’s team early and hard. Before playing one snap of regular season football, regular contributors, J.K. Dobbins, Marcus Peters, Gus Edwards, and L.J. Fort were all lost for the season. Soon to follow were standouts Ronnie Stanley, DeShon Elliott, and Derek Wolfe, and eventually, the Ravens offensive and defensive MVPs from 2020, Lamar Jackson and Marlon Humphrey. Only 11 Ravens played in every game in 2021 and only three managed to start every game.

However, despite their battle against themselves, the Ravens had a number of standouts in 2021. These are the player awards for the Baltimore Ravens in 2021.

Baltimore Ravens 2021 Season Team Awards

Most Valuable Player: Lamar Jackson – Quarterback

There’s no question that Lamar Jackson was the most valuable player to the Ravens in 2021. He held a 7-4 record on the year when an ankle injury forced him out of his 12th game of the year after playing just 10 offensive snaps.  The Ravens fell to the Cleveland Browns after Jackson exited the game and did not win a game for the remainder of the season.

While it’s easy to fault Jackson for the way he finished 2021, he should be properly rewarded for his overall body of work and the way he started the season. Through his first eight games in 2021, Jackson was one of the favorites to win his second NFL MVP. He was completing 65 percent of his passes, had a passer rating of 96.2, four game-winning drives, and was on pace to become the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 4,000 and rush for over 1,000 yards. His 6-2 record was tied for best in the AFC and he had signature wins against the Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, and Minnesota Vikings.

Following his electrifying start to the year, Jackson came down to earth in a way he never had before. His final full three-game stretch was perhaps the worst of his NFL career as Jackson tied his interception total (six) from 2019 on just 112 passing attempts.

Jackson may never be the easiest quarterback to understand but he is without a doubt, still a top-10 quarterback in the NFL. He is still just 25 years old and could be stepping into the best offense he’s ever had in 2022. Once back and healthy in 2021, Jackson should help the Ravens get back to being the Super Bowl contender they were in 2019 and 2020.

Offensive Player of the Year: Mark Andrews – Tight End

Singing the praise of Lamar Jackson is necessary these days but perhaps the only constant on the Ravens outside of Jackson in 2021 was Mark Andrews. Not only that, he just had one of the best seasons by a receiving tight end ever.

The Ravens have always been a team that has heavily favored using their tight ends. Each Shannon Sharpe, Dennis Pitta, and Todd Heap have led the Ravens in receptions in a single season but none have done what Andrews did in 2021. Andrews not only led the Ravens in receptions and receiving yards last season, but he set the franchise record in both statistical categories. His 107 receptions and 1,361 receiving yards were season-highs amongst tight ends in 2021. They were also both good for third-most amongst tight ends in NFL history.

Andrews might have come out of Oklahoma as a jumbo wide receiver, but he has far surpassed his third-round draft value and is turning into debatably the most complete tight end in the entire NFL. He was the highest-graded tight end in the NFL by Pro Football Focus this past season and has missed just a total of three games over his entire career.

Andrews was deservedly named a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career after the season. There was no tight end that really competed with him either. He won the triple crown (led the NFL in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns) amongst tight ends and is already living up to the four-year(s)/$56 million contract he signed in September.

Defensive Player of the Year: Tyus Bowser – Outside Linebacker

Picking a Defensive Player of the Year for the Ravens is tricky. Former-defensive coordinator Don Martindale has been known to use a rotational cast in his defenses but was forced to get incredibly creative in 2021. 22 different Ravens started a game on defense last season but only two players started in all 17 games. Tyus Bowser was one of the two.

Bowser signed a new and incredibly team-friendly contract with Baltimore this past off-season and became the Ravens’ most heavily relied upon defensive player in 2021. His versatility allowed Martindale to play him the second-most snaps of any Ravens defender and his play did not slip at all. He led the Ravens defense in sacks with 7.0 and set career highs in tackles, tackles for loss, forced fumbles, QB hits, and pressures.

The Ravens may not have been a tremendous defense in 2021 but it was incredibly promising to see Bowser step into his new role and excel. He still has three years remaining on his new deal and still seems to be improving at age 26. Versatile three-down linebackers are hard to find and Bowser is becoming the ultimate chess piece of Baltimore’s defense.

Most Improved Player: Bradley Bozeman – Center

There wasn’t much to cheer about on the Ravens offense during the second half of 2021. Jackson was going through his first slump, the running game had regressed from a season ago, and the offensive line was continually rotating new players every week. However, the Ravens’ biggest question mark coming out of 2020 was, who is going to play center in 2021? The answer was fourth-year standout Bradley Bozeman.

Bozeman, a left guard in 2020, returned to his college position at center in 2021. Here, he had his best season to date and was perhaps the Ravens most valuable offensive lineman by year’s end. His 73.3 overall grade per PFF was the 11th-highest amongst qualifying centers and was the second-highest grade amongst Ravens offensive linemen. He played a career-high 1127 snaps and did not commit a penalty in any of the 16 games he started.

Bozeman now leaves the Ravens with a tough decision to make. Baltimore was plagued by botched snaps and inconsistent center play in 2020 but Bozeman will be a free agent this upcoming March. DeCosta also recently extended utility lineman and former starting center Patrick Mekari. It might be tricky for the Ravens to retain Bozeman but if the price is right, he could be a very important piece to the future of Baltimore’s offensive line.

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