The Steelers now have 6 games in the books and one thing that sticks out in the stats as far as pass targets goes is that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is just not connecting with his second year receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown like he should.
I have compiled the pass targets through the first 6 games below and as you can see, Roethlisberger only has a 46% completion rate to Brown and an even lower 40% completion rate to Sanders.
Now the finger gets pointed to both Roethlisberger and the sophomore receivers here as we have seen Brown miss multiple hot reads thus far this season and both he and Sanders have been caught not running the right route once or twice which has visibly drawn the ire of Roethlisberger on camera. Also not to be forgotten is that Brown has 2 drops this year and Sanders 1. Remember the drop against the Colts? Sanders has the only touchdown between the two and it happened way back in week 1 against the Ravens.
Flashback to yesterday and Roethlisberger missed Brown for an easy touchdown and Sanders was missed twice while pretty well wide open. Roethlisberger targeted both a total of 6 times yesterday only to connect with each once. What a difference a few more receptions from either would have made in that game.
Now Sanders did miss quite a bit of the preseason due to his foot problem, but Brown was the training camp darling and benefited greatly from tons of work with Roethlisberger. The fact remains that something just is not clicking just yet with these three and it needs to improve. Teams are concentrating more and more on trying to take away Mike Wallace every game and veterans Hines Ward and Heath Miller can only help so much.
Ward, Miller and Wallace are all over the 65% completion rate number this year and you can imagine what type of numbers this offense could put up if Roethlisberger can start connecting more frequently with Brown and Sanders.
Sophomore slump? I do not think so. I just think these young receivers need to pay more attention to the details and be where Roethlisberger expects them to be on the field. It is time for them to buckle down with the toughest part of the schedule approaching along with key divisional games.
2011 Ben Roethlisberger Wide Receiver & Tight End Target Stats