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  • Writer's pictureBrett Favre

Column: Missing element in the Ravens offense, the deep ball, is back

Underneath the victory of 56-19 by Ravens over Miami Dolphins on Sunday, which helped them get title, home field in post season and likely second MVP award for quarterback Lamar Jackson. There is a larger story about their ability to throw long passes once again.

That's a big factor going into the playoffs. For five years, this team had an issue but it wasn't like Sunday.

Lamar Jackson from the Ravens team threw 18 out of 21 passes for a total distance of about three football fields and made five touchdowns. His performance scored like no other, with a record-high score of more than one hundred miles per hour. He did 23, 75, and similar runs as the Ravens came up with enough forward moves to chase out the Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium.

Ravens' coach John Harbaugh said the long passes were very good. "For me, that was a part of it." We continued to say, 'If we can start throwing long passes, then we can make those big moves. It ended up being a real burden today. It was great to see.”

Jackson's show on Sunday made it easy to choose him as the MVP. There is no competition.

Kansas City Chiefs player Patrick Mahomes is having a hard time and Buffalo's Josh Allen is as random as the Bills team. Aaron Rodgers, a four-time MVP winner, hasn't played since he hurt his Achilles tendon early in the season. Joe Burrow from Cincinnati Bengals wasn't serious about winning after just one part of it started.

Then Jackson gives a show like the one on Sunday. It wasn’t that close anyway.

In his first five years in the NFL, Jackson was bad at short to medium distance passes. However, he still played well enough to win games. But, other teams did not have to follow his long passes.

In the past 16 games, Jackson often threw too hard or not enough to open receivers. New player Zay Flowers or Rashod Bateman did well by getting two steps away from defensive backs, but it didn't help. You could see their faces getting upset with growing frustration. Even when Jackson passed the ball far to Odell Beckham Jr., the old player had to make turning moves and changes.

On Sunday, Jackson threw a 42-yard pass down the right side that Bateman had to reach for but it could be caught. Miami had it even harder. Jackson made a good throw to the runner Justice Hill for 26 yards, but it didn't count because of a mistake.

Jackson was just warming up. He threw another 25-yard pass to Flowers in the same series, followed by a 20-yard touchdown pass to Hill.

The 75-yard touchdown pass to Flowers with 2:In the second quarter, they scored 58 points making it a beautiful total of 21-13.

There is an idea growing here. In Jackson's first three years playing for the Baltimore team, other teams would put extra players in to stop their running game. That plan stopped Jackson, but there's a big change this year than 2019. Last time Baltimore had the best AFC record and home-field advantage was in 2019.

Todd Monken took over from Greg Roman as the offensive coordinator in February, and he with Jackson were creating some big plays on Sunday.

Jackson said, "That's the kind of game I like. Monken was being aggressive and making big plays but he let me decide." "I can be tough, but just use what the defense offers us. It went together well with that." He played really well today and that's how I enjoy the game to be."

But it's not only about how Monken or Jackson grow. The Ravens added some playmaking receivers to Jackson's team during the offseason like Beckham and Flowers. Nobody knew that Mark Andrews, a tight end player would be nearly all of the second part of the season with ankle hurt. But Isaiah Likely did good as backup and got two touchdown passes on Sunday morning also caught one-handed 35 yards across middle in first half's last minutes.

Passes like that make the field more open. Opposing teams can't put a lot of players to stop one, and it makes them protect the whole field. His aim when he hired Monken was the same.

So as the Ravens go into their after-season with a game like before against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, they may have discovered who they are. On Sunday, Jackson could throw well across the field and past the numbers.

"We have the best fans on earth," Hill said. "Whatever weather it is, whatever records are, they will be there and show up! This place was rocking. I'm happy we make the playoffs here. We're doing great and they will assist us a lot.

The Ravens also have another level. Jackson should have another MVP award because he has the long ball in his weapons.

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