Pausing To Reflect On Antonio Brown’s 2013 Season

By Matthew Marczi

This past game against the Detroit Lions, wide receiver Antonio Brown had just his second career two-touchdown game—both came this season. And anybody who watched the game knows that it should have been a three-touchdown game, but Brown dropped a ball in the end zone from the one-yard line.

Still, he finished the game with seven receptions for 147 yards, most of which came on the first two drives of the game.

Brown now has 74 receptions on the year, which is the most in the league. Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has 72 receptions following a 10-receptions game. For perspective, 74 receptions is Brown’s career-high in a single season, besting the 69 that he had in 16 games (though only three starts) in 2010.

The 147 yards also gives Brown 952 yards on the year, which is good for fifth-most in the league. He trails only Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, DeSean Jackson, and Andre Johnson.

His career-high in yardage—again, from 2010—is 1108, which Brown is a lock to surpass in the last six games. Additionally, he has also tied his career-high in touchdowns in a season with five, which he also had last season.

Pro-rate those numbers over the course of the rest of the season.

74 receptions in 10 games translates to about 118 receptions in a full 16-game season—or a Steelers single-season record. Hines Ward had 112 in 2002.

952 yards in 10 games translates to about 1523 yards in a full 16-game season—or a Steelers single-season record. Yancey Thigpen had 1398 in 1997.

Five touchdowns in 10 games translates to eight touchdowns in a full 16-game season. Scoring is one area in which Brown can still use improvement, but of course it’s tough for a 5’10” receiver to score touchdowns when he is expected to be the team’s top receiver.

Also of note is the fact that Brown has not fumbled the ball once this season. He fumbled four times last year, losing two of them.

The fact that he has the fourth-best catch percentage (73.3 percent) in the league among qualified players is a cherry on top. His total yards after catch (394) ranks fifth.

With the offense seemingly starting to click over the last few games, it is hard to imagine that Brown’s historically great season will suddenly come to a crashing halt.

While he may not maintain the pace of 7.4 catches and 95.2 yards per game, it’s hard to imagine him coming up short of 100 receptions and over 1300 yards, so enjoy it while it lasts.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Shawn S.

    Incredible. A 5’10” no. 1 receiver putting up those stats, with a lame duck #2 behind him. I have a new appreciation for AB. (Now do one of these articles on Cotch, who is also having a great season…)

  • steeltown

    A.Brown has been amazing..a bright spot this season. It looks like he’ll far exceeded my personal expectations for him as the #1 guy, I was hoping for 75+ catches and a 1,000+yds from him. He should in all likelihood hit that mark against Cleveland this week.

    The issue I’ve always had with Brown (and Sanders) was scoring, but if he ends the season with 8TDs I’d be happy

  • srdan

    I agree that it would be nice for them to score more, but that is part of the scheme. Heath and Plex were suppose to take a lot of attention in the redzone to allow our midgets to operate below them, but that went to crap early this season. AB and cotchery are making the most of it.

    You’d have to think that sanders could be had at the end of the season at a decent price if the steelers choose to keep him as a slot receiver. Should be interesting. I am not sure how I feel about this yet.

  • SteelerFanInMD

    Brown looks even better when compared to Mike Wallace, who has 44 catches for 534 yds and 1 TD. The Steelers made the right move when gave him the big contract instead of Wallace.

  • lone pistol

    it sounds crazy but i think we are better with out sanders, cotch is stronger, runs better routs, better hands, and is on the same page with ben, sanders takes plays away from him and i still like seeing wheaton get some throws, sanders is great when the balls in his hands but until then he is a suspect reciver

  • dgh57

    There was a lot of talk before the Lion’s game how they have a guy who can change the outcome of games. Well even Tomlin commented to that effect and then Brown went out there and proved it. Brown had 105 receiving yards and 2 TDs before CJ did anything! He had a effect on the game with his 16 yard catch on 3td down that kept the drive going on that 97 yard drive that sealed the game. Brown’s numbers are even better when you consider he has no WR opposite him to speak of to draw coverage away from him! So it looks like Brown changing positions is suiting him just fine and is not making anyone remember Mike Wallace!

  • steeltown

    Yep, if he keeps pace Sanders wont be getting a ‘really good deal’ from anyone. It will be a moderate deal wherever he goes, so it will be interesting to see what happens. Personally I could see the FO letting him walk and retaining Cotchery for another 1-2yrs, hoping Wheaton can emerge in his 2nd season, giving J.Brown and Moye every chance to compete AND drafting another guy to throw in the mix

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Cotchery isnt a #2 WR that is the problem…he is a slot receiver. That is why Wheaton went to Sanders spot when he was hurt and not Cotchery

  • srdan

    I would say that cotch is more of a #2 than sanders.

    Wheaton is a true #2.

  • srdan

    I guess my question is what are we “retaining”? Even when healthy is he a good option? Obviously there is a lot of football to be played, but his inconsistancy and injuries warrant another pick on a WR to put in the mix, regardless of him coming back to the team. Hindsight, that 3rd sure would have been nice, but out of character for our organization.

  • steeltown

    Yea Cotchery would be much cheaper to retain, while Wheaton and other youngsters find their footing

  • Eric

    Cotch should be back for less than we pay Sanders and WR is looking like a low priority in the draft

  • steeltown

    I just cant see paying Sanders 3-5MIL a year when we have Wheaton who looks like basically the same player, younger and cheaper but with possible higher ceiling.

  • Mike Carroll

    I agree, 8 TDs would be a nice number for AB. There’s no doubt AB is having a tremendous season and doing just about everything he seems capable of doing. He’s delivering splash play TDs and he’s even picked up his punt return game lately.

    I find it interesting the team is really working in Cotchery much more lately. I suspect they have already decided to move on from Sanders at the end of the year. Glad to see Wheaton nab a few catches last week. His future looks promising.

    I still think they need a big target for the redzone, but I’m not sure how they get one unless they spend a high draft pick and I’m not sure they will do that. I think Plax could’ve had 6-8 TDs this year as a redzone specialist if his body held up.

  • lone pistol

    very true i just trust and believe in cotch more than sanders at times and hope wheaton devolops more in the next few games to replace sanders spot next year, still would like a good 6 foot plus reciever

  • CW

    Hopefully the Steelers resign Cotchery to a two year deal and draft a tall wide receiver to complement the receiver corps of AB, Cotch, Wheaton, and Moye.

    Unfortunately Sanders looks like a lost extra 3rd round pick in the 2013 draft at this point.

  • JohnnyV1

    Kevin Colbert & company did a good job resigning AB (and not Wallace), re-signing Cotchery, re-signing Sanders for 1yr and adding Wheaton in the draft. I think that WR position is performing well and not the reason we are 4-6. There are other position where this is not so, but that’s not for this post.

    AB is just flat-out ballin! And he seems like a good dude.

  • charles

    YAC. We knew that Ben was throwing darts after AB’s second td. Yards after the catch is the most effective stat when judging the qb efficiency. Accurate throw equals many yards after catch. Just ask Jerry Rice.
    For all the Haley bashers, our offense is not in bad position. Of course an Oline that can play together on a consistent basis would give us the only element that we lack right now…a running game.
    What seemed to matter the most against Detroit, since we knew their D was tenuous at best, was that our D shut them down in the second half. I still think the major reason was Worilds hard sack of Stafford. It rattled his teeth. Stafford was only 3 of 16 for 45 yards in the second half. We have seen this many times: bone crushing sack and qb’s numbers go way down.

  • steeltown

    Yea, but even if they grab another 3rd Rder (with size this time) it could be lucrative, look at Terrence Williams or Keenan Allen

  • Mike Carroll

    That’s true, I could see them using a 3rd round comp pick on WR. I figure it’s a lock they get a 3rd rounder for Wallace and hoping they get another for K. Lewis as well.

  • Brandon James

    For whatever reason this past off season had some of the best personnel moves since Tomlin has come in to this job, besides Lewis…otherwise great draft, and smart resigns. Will Allen anyone? What a snag

  • Brandon James

    They don’t just need someone tall, that need a powerful receiver who cannot get bumped at the line easily.

  • Brandon James

    Holy….those stats are horrid for a 12M a year player, can’t help but just laugh.

  • CW

    Agreed. Depending on where they pick in the draft someone like Allen Robinson or Jordan Mathews would fill the bill well.

  • AndyR34

    I think your ‘expectations’ are that they are the same receiver…MW(2) has shown virtually nothing yet; has been injured as much as Manny in his first year.

  • Matt Manzo

    What about Ladamian Washington from Missouri? He’s got size and speed! I haven’t seen enough film to know yet but I think we should look for a mid round big WR. Even though I wish we could afford to grab one at #1.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Sanders is playing for a big contract next year and with what he has done in the past he will not receive what he wants unless he puts up good numbers this year…that is no lame duck my friend but Brown is a stud and is doing it besides double coverage.

  • CW

    Honestly I haven’t seen enough of him to know one way or the other if he’d be a good prospect.

  • Matt Manzo

    I just hate looking at the top prospects cuz we rarely get one. Especially skill positions.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Honestly, Lewis would have meant making some steep sacrifices elsewhere. Convincing him to not play in his hometown wouldn’t have been cheap.

  • Bob Loblaw

    We didn’t get a ton of sacks on Stafford, but I saw them lay quite a few licks on him. Certainly had an effect.

  • steeltown

    A broken finger is a fluke injury its not like Sanders and his chronic foot issues or Woodley and his calf/hamstring issues. Sanders has 500yds and 2TDs I have no doubt Wheaton could match that after 10games if he was the starter