Antonio Brown Was Clutch Against The Lions Despite The Drop

By Matthew Marczi

Although he was unable to hang on to a couple balls against the Detroit Lions, including one in the end zone, Antonio Brown still finished the day having had one of the best games of his career, with seven receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns. I think it’s worth taking a closer look at some of those receptions.

We might as well start at the beginning, with the Steelers facing a third and 11 situation just past midfield and in danger of once again stalling on their opening drive, as has been the case so often this year.

After motioning Le’Veon Bell out wide, the Steelers lined up five-wide in an 11 personnel. Brown lined up just outside Jerricho Cotchery, who at the snap of the ball moved out to block for Brown’s screen pass (you know, those plays that never ever work).

Cotchery sealed off the defensive back, and despite Heath Miller failing to pick up the linebacker, Brown still had enough wiggle to make the play happen. New set of downs, but they only needed one more on the drive:

The Steelers went five wide once again with the same personnel, though aligned differently. Bell this time was out wide on Brown’s side, but with Brown juking one tackler and making another miss, he really didn’t need any blocking help in order to finish the play jogging into the end zone. The Steelers’ second drive, of course, ended in similar fashion.

Once again, the Steelers went five-wide with the same personnel (notice how often Bell is out wide?). This time, Brown and Bell lined up on the left side of the offense. Bell looked to be open and was calling for the ball, but once he saw Ben Roethlisberger step up in the pocket and deliver the ball to Brown, he turned around to block. Thanks to Brown’s speed, and a downfield block by Emmanuel Sanders, he had another long touchdown to start the day.

Despite that, perhaps no single play in the game was bigger than his conversion on third and nine early in the fourth quarter.

The Steelers only went with three receivers, keeping in Jonathan Dwyer and Miller to pass block so close to the goal line. Despite Ndamukong Suh in his face, Roethlisberger saw Brown laying up in the soft spot of the zone and delivered a strike about 27-yards from where he stood. Credit Brown for not only going up to get the ball, but for hanging on while getting hit in the air. Clutch.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • steeltown

    Its pretty clear we’re dangerous when going 5wide, we have some weapons.

    I truly think the only thing we’re missing is the tall WR, (and LT of course) whether its Moye, J.Brown or a soon to be draft pick we need that one other wrinkle, especially in the redzone

  • 2443scott

    not everyone will make every catch but he did make clutch catches when needed and thats all you can ask for some would just say i cant get to it or drop more passes…i have seen a diff in brown last 2 games before he be like yeah in your face when he got a first down …now hes still excited but more professional looking and knowing the game isnt over yet ….i my self dont like those so called bubble passes out side to brown …either let him run a end around or toss ball to rb swinging out i rather have a rb doing what brown does are to many chances for a injury or a concussion from dbs flying in ..

  • Ken

    Antonio is the so much better than any other receiver we have. I hope Wheaton starts contributing soon.

  • David Schutt

    Can someone tell me what the story is about the fanny pack AB is wearing in the earlier GIFs? This is a serious question. I have been a Steelers fan since the ’60s, but I don’t know what the rules are regarding fanny packs or why a football player would need one. It looks like it is about to fall off and trip him up.

  • dgh57

    Nice job of blocking by all but especially by DeCastro on Suh in gif3.

  • dgh57

    Not totally sure but those are hand warmers you see Brown wearing because of the weather.

  • 20Stoney

    I think it’s one of those hand warmer muffs.

  • steeltown

    For his hands, in cold weather

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I agree. With brown cotch and sanders as the top three you can use plenty of different combinations for the other to wide outs between Miller/bell/wheaton to keep the defense honest. Looks good

  • steeltown

    I’d throw Moye in the conversation as well.. and/or possibly J.Brown next year?

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I like Moye but he isn’t going to get a hat much of this season since he doesnt play SP teams. Next year I can definitely see Moye in the mix if we are unable to retain cotch or sanders.

  • Impact3697

    Actually, the worst was Gilbert on Suh in the last gif. You can’t allow the defender to knock you back six yards into the qb’s face in your own end zone. That was a great throw by Ben. At least Gilbert was able to hold his block, just long enough.

    Decastro’s block wasn’t good either, but even though he got beat off the snap, he was able to recover and push Suh about ten yards through the backfield, allowing Ben to step up

  • Impact3697

    If the Steelers had a better pass protecting oline, for much of this year so far A.B’s numbers would look even better. He’s a great run after the catch guy, but a lot of these screens and quick passes are sniffed out by the defense, going for short gains or even losses. We need to throw them though, to try and keep opposing teams pass rush at bay.

    If we had more time to throw the ball downfield, Brown’s yardage numbers would be a lot higher. He’s having a great year, and is too quick for db’s to handle one on one

  • dgh57

    The block by Gilbert was far from perfect but at least he kept himself up right and not leaning to one side.

    As for DeCastro, I don’t see him as being fooled by Suh’s fake move. He stayed with him throughout the play.

  • Steve

    Can’t get use to the “Prison lookin” uniforms.

  • Riverstko

    AB is having a Good year the Steelers also should start Cotchery and use Wheaton in the slot. Sanders dont look ready like somethings bothering him.