Deep passing game continues to pay dividends

So far this season, the Harbaugh brothers have both done two things: win and cause some postgame conflict with opposing coaches.

Back in the preseason, Chiefs coach Todd Haley accused John Harbaugh of running up the score on his team. Then, following a Week 3 win over the Rams, St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo was so frustrated with Harbaugh's decision to attack late in the fourth quarter during a blowout that he went home and told his wife that he was never talking to Harbaugh, his good friend, ever again. Spagnuolo later rescinded those words and said he had no issues with Harbaugh's late-game tactics.

Neither of those mini-controversies compares to yesterday's incident involving Harbaugh's younger brother Jim, the coach of the 49ers, and Lions coach Jim Schwartz.

Here's video of the altercation between the two coaches, which turned ugly when Jim Harbaugh gave Schwartz a, shall we say, intense postgame handshake and a light shove on the back, causing Schwartz to chase Harbaugh down the field looking for a little payback.

If I was an NFL head coach, one opposing coach I would not want to get into it with would be Jim Harbaugh. Just sayin'.

Here's one stat which I think is evidence of both a change in the Ravens' offensive philosophy and an improvement in personnel this season: Joe Flacco had just seven completions of 40 yards or more last year. This season, through five games, he already has five connections of at least 40 yards.

Flacco bolstered that total in yesterday's win over the Texans, hitting Torrey Smith on a 51-yard bomb over the middle and then finding Anquan Boldin for a 56-yard pickup on the Ravens' next drive.

The Ravens have talked about being more aggressive with their play-calling this year than in the past, and that seems to be proving true. I can't ever recall a Ravens team which took so many shots down the field, and those shots have turned into big plays and points, giving the team confidence that they can score at any time and from any distance.

"Our whole offense feeds off it," Smith said. "Everyone feeds off of it, offensively, defensively. The fact that we have the ability to do that with any of our receivers, tight ends and running backs is definitely going to make us a dangerous offense."

Of those five 40-plus-yard completions this season, three have gone to Smith, the rookie speedster out of Maryland. As promised, his presence has given the Ravens a quick-strike ability which they've lacked in previous years.

Smith has shown he can take the top off the defense and deliver big plays, and he seems to be getting more comfortable as the season goes on. Mix in Boldin, running back Ray Rice, tight end Ed Dickson and wideout Lee Evans - if he can ever shake free of that ankle injury - and this Ravens team has a number of guys who can burn you deep and put six points up in the blink of an eye.

"I think we can be sloppy at times, and we're not as consistent as we want to be throughout the game," Flacco said. "But when those guys are out there running those routes full speed, it's pretty easy to be on the same page with them. When they're running by their guys, you just put it out there for them, and they go get it."

I'd imagine that's a pretty good feeling for a quarterback to have.

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