We all know how clutch that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is on third downs, and if you need a reminder, he was 8-of-10 for 119 yards with a touchdown in the 27-10 win on Sunday against the New York Jets.
While that great ability of his needs no more glossing from me any time soon, I thought we should take a look at the third down receiving numbers of the Young Money Crew since they came into the league.
Since he was drafted, Antonio Brown has been targeted 58 times on third downs and he has caught 38 of those passes (65.5%) for 566 yards and a touchdown. While making the third down catch is great, moving the chains is more important and 33 of those 38 third down catches that Brown has have done just that.
Mike Wallace has been targeted 85 times on third downs since being drafted and has caught 50 of those passes (58.8%) for 900 yards and 7 touchdowns. That equates to an eye popping 18 yards per catch if you are scoring at home and 40 of those 50 catches have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown.
Emmanuel Sanders is not to be forgotten as he has been targeted 40 times on third downs since coming into the league and he has caught 23 of those balls (57.5%) with 20 of them doing the job.
Now where both Brown and Sanders currently lack on third downs is in the touchdown department as both have combined for just two of them on 81 targets. This is something that we will keep our eye on closely this year as a stat inside a stat, but the key thing right now is that both are moving the chains with their catches and combined have a strong completion rate.
In the meantime it will likely be tight end Heath Miller that continues to be the Steelers 3rd down red zone target of choice now that Hines Ward is gone. Once teams catch onto that, it should present the other three receivers a chance to increase their touchdown production on third downs, especially in the red zone.