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The Ravens have been accused of being conservative at times this season, but quarterback Joe Flacco is tied for eighth in the NFL with 16 completions of at least 25 yards.
Although some of those were short dump-offs that went for extra mileage, the fact remains that Flacco and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron have taken their shots downfield.
“I still think points are the biggest thing, but it definitely shows that we can stretch the field a little bit,” said Flacco. “We’ve been able to create plays.
“When you get those big plays, it makes it a lot easier to do what we want to do in games, as far as our offense goes.”
The Ravens have had their share of short completions that have gone for big yards.
Running back Ray Rice took a short dink 34 yards after breaking several tackles against the Miami Dolphins. Willis McGahee hauled in a screen from Flacco and rumbled 32 yards for a touchdown versus Miami, as well.
But the Ravens have tested deep coverage.
There was a 58-yard completion through the air to tight end Ed Dickson against the Denver Broncos. Derrick Mason caught a 40-yarder. And, Anquan Boldin hauled in a 38-yard reception against the New York Jets, to name a few.
“Our guys have been doing a great job of getting into coverage and sitting in some zones,” said Flacco, who is leading the NFL with a 105.7 quarterback rating since Week 3. “When they’ve had to, they’ve done a good job of running after the catch, too.
“That’s where some of those plays come from. They might not be by design, but they can turn into something more.”
The Ravens’ deep threats could even improve this week against the Carolina Panthers, as receiver Donte’ Stallworth, who only recently came back from a broken foot, is getting worked back into the offense.
Known for his speed – he ran two reverses for 34 yards against the Falcons – Stallworth is expected to eventually enter the receiving mix as a deep threat.
“Donte’ has been doing a great job of getting back into things,” Flacco said. “We’re putting him back there, and he had those reverses. I think he can become more involved in the offense soon.”