Lamar Jackson has been sensational through 10 games, playing at an MVP level in Todd Monken's offense.
Jackson has gotten the ball out quicker than at any point in his career and has diced up defenses on intermediate routes. Through 10 weeks, Jackson leads all qualified QBs with a 132.2 passer rating on intermediate throws (10-19 air yards), per Next Gen Stats.
One element of his game has been missing, however: the deep shot.
In Sunday's loss to Cleveland, Jackson missed an open Zay Flowers deep that would have put the Ravens up 24-6. After the missed shot, Justin Tucker had a field goal blocked, turning the tide of the game in the second quarter.
"I mean it's right there. I'm pissed off about it, to be honest with you," Jackson said via the team's official website. "I watched the game, and it's like it might be a difference in the game if we connect with that one.
"Can't dwell on it. Hopefully, this Thursday, we catch them when we want them, we have success with the deep ball, we connect and have chemistry there. I believe it's there [because], in practice, we do it all the time. Those guys catch the ball down the field 40 yards, 50 yards down the field. We need to transition that over to the games, that's all."
Jackson is one of six qualified QBs not to have thrown a deep TD pass this season, averaging a career-low 9.7 air yards on his 10 TD passes this season (2018-2022: 13.9 air yards).
In almost every other area outside the deep ball, Jackson has improved. He's been phenomenal under pressure, owning the second-highest dropback success rate (40.2%) when under pressure this season (behind only Dak Prescott at 42.6%), per NGS.
He's getting the ball out quickly, averaging a career-low 2.8 seconds to throw, which has led to a career-low 8.2 air yards per attempt. Monken's offense calls for more quick throws behind the line, with Jackson targeting a receiver behind the line of scrimmage on 19.9% of his pass attempts this season, the highest rate of his career. The combination has helped improve Jackson's accuracy, as the 2019 NFL MVP has completed more passes than expected for the first time in his career (+3.2% CPOE, fifth in the NFL through 10 weeks).
If Jackson can then connect on some splash plays, the Ravens offense would be lights out. Since Week 6, Jackson has gone 3-of-13 on throws of 20-plus air yards with an interception. His completion percentage is 12.7% below expectation, per NGS.
"We've just got to make it happen," Flowers said. "You miss sometimes. You're not going to connect all the time. We've just got to keep building our connection and get it down."
The Ravens take on the Bengals in an AFC North showdown Thursday night on Prime Video.