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Joe Flacco looked out of sorts against a stingy Browns defense.
Joe Flacco has one of the strongest arms in the NFL, and his receiving corps are equipped with blazing speed. So why haven't they been able to connect on deep balls this year?
Last season, Flacco threw a deep pass (20+ yards) on 17.3 percent of his dropbacks, which was the highest percentage in the league, according to ProFootballFocus (subscription required).
More importantly, he connected on 40.2 percent of those deep balls. This year, he's not throwing them as much, and he's only hitting on 29.7 percent of those attempts.
We saw how out-of-sync he was with his downfield receivers on two occasions against the Browns.
Firstly, he misread the coverage and threw a terrible, underthrown pass to Jacoby Jones, who was surrounded by defenders. It was a bad decision by Flacco, but he severely undershot his target.
The same thing occurred later in the game when he connected with Torrey Smith for a 46-yard gain. The big play looks nice on paper, but Smith had beaten his man and would have been able to score a touchdown if the throw had been on target. Instead, it was another weak throw which Smith had to come back to.
Part of the problem is that the porous offensive line isn't giving Flacco many opportunities to let plays develop downfield, but he's not even connecting on them when he gets the chance anyway.
Getting big plays would be a huge help to an offense that is struggling to move in the right direction, so that needs to be an emphasis moving forward.