Ravens special teams pitches uncommon shutout

Somewhat lost in the shuffle of Sunday’s impressive wild card win over the Colts were the contributions of the Ravens’ special teams unit.

Kicker Justin Tucker, punter Sam Koch and Baltimore’s coverage teams pitched a perfect game, holding Indianapolis to a grand total of zero return yards.

Tucker booted all five of his kickoffs into or beyond the end zone for touchbacks. Koch averaged 43.3 yards on four punts, but none were returned - two went for touchbacks, one went out of bounds, and one was downed at the Colts’ 10-yard line.

Coach John Harbaugh isn’t sure he’s ever seen that before.

“I don’t remember that. I don’t remember ever giving up no yards in the return game, so it’s a great accomplishment by those guys,” Harbaugh said. “It’s good to have all the guys back. To be at full strength is really important, and it does trickle down through all of your units. So those guys had some guys up and playing that hadn’t been playing on special teams or had been taking so many reps because they were playing double duty with their phase on special teams.”

As Harbaugh said, the impressive performance of the coverage unit could have something to do with the fact that Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Bernard Pollard and others are back to work as starters on offense and defense.

That leaves quality special-teamers like Brendon Ayanbadejo and Josh Bynes to solely focus on kick coverage, and the results bear that out.