Steelers WR Antonio Brown Was Benched Late In Loss To Patriots

During his Tuesday press conference, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said wide receiver Antonio Brown was pulled late in the game against the New England Patriots due to performance and execution issues.

“That was my decision,” Tomlin said. “We weren’t getting quality execution from an assignment standpoint. It led to an interception. I chose to remove him from the game.”

Brown played all but nine snaps in the game and his missed assignment on the final interception by Ben Roethlisberger is likely what earned him a spot on the sideline next to Tomlin. As you can see in the gif below, Brown appreared to run the same route as wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and Roethlisberger was expecting him to break outside.

Brown, who had five catches on nine targets in the game, registered 71 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots and his benching will be short lived as Tomlin said Tuesday he will be in the starting lineup Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

Brown currently leads the league in catches with 61 and his 701 yards are good for ninth best in the league.


  • Have no problem with this at all. Doesn’t matter the score you are a professional do your job and focus.

  • srdan

    The only problem I have with this is that BB didn’t run down the field and give him an earful before he was benched. That is what leaders do. Hold other accountable.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Funny, I’ve said this a number of times and folks have given me all types of excuses. No need to act like an idiot but when a veteran guy messes up you have to let them know that he has got to play better.

    Ben himself should have gotten chewed out by Haley. There was nobody in that vicinity except the guy watching Ben and yet he threw it. This guy already knew where Ben was going with the ball and never looked at the receiver. We all know about timing routes but as a veteran QB you can’t just stare it down.

    Obviously you can’t bench Ben but you have got to get in his ear and the same for Brown. These are the main issues with this offense yet folks are calling for Haley’s firing. He may need to be but to put it all on him is stupid.

  • srdan

    I’ll be honest. I was one calling for Arians firing. But after seeing Haley operate I am not for firing either one. Ben will always be near the top of league in sacks. It’s just his style. Unless you can run the ball more, to reduce it being in his hands, its inevitable.

    They have to hold him accountable, I agree. I also think it’s embarrassing that he is in his 10th???? season and the coaches would have to do that.

  • Dan

    I’m no multi-million dollar coach like Mike Tomlin, but could it be that the failure of our team is more a result of poor instruction and poor play calling and not so much the result of lack of punishments like being benched, removing locker room privileges and showing how “really mad” papa Tomlin is this week?

  • Jeff

    I’m not against the benching, but I’m also going to have a short memory on it. Brown has been one of the VERY few positives about this team in 2013.

  • Shawn S.

    I can’t hold this in any more… At the risk of sounding like an over-simplification, the Steelers #1 problem is mental. Talk about the age, youth, O-line, defense, special teams, and coaching all you want. The Steelers have all the tools they need to successfully compete. What kills them is mental breakdowns, lack of concentration, loss of focus. This play is a perfect example. The coaches are plagued with this too, they have been doing inexplicably stupid stuff all year. I don’t know the solution, but I’m convinced this is the #1 problem. They need to stop the mental mistakes, and they would be fine. Not great, but fine.

  • Matt Jones

    Late in the game benching? What about Ryan Clark & Troy Palomalu’s play in the first half? Clark more specifically the whole season!

  • Chris Wilkes

    I don’t think it’s oversimplified at all. The team has a huge mental issue going on, and I think it starts with the coaches and decision makers. They’ve been doing really dumb things for years now. I remember when Art made a Jerry Jones like move and suggested his 2 time Super Bowl QB needs to alter his game. How about Bruce Arians’ retirement lol? The firing of the special teams coach? Lets bring in a new O-line coach and a new scheme, and then don’t use it. How about the handling of Dwyer? That was the most idiotic series of events I can remember, although not as embarrassing as the Arians deal. Lets let 2 guys fight it out in camp for the punting job, and then at the last minute when it seems clear who won it we’ll cut them both for a guy that will eventually suck worse than both of them and he’ll hang on to that job for a few too many weeks long! Ugh! Then you can add in all the coaching mistakes that have led to poor game and time management throughout this season. We can’t blame our woes on injuries anymore. Something needs to change with this team, and I’m hoping Tomlin can figure it out. Although this benching seems acceptable, I don’t think Tomlin’s ways are working. He better collect some wins this year, improve, and have a playoff contending team next year.

  • Chris Wilkes


  • whisn

    I think this is a bad decision, don’t agree with it at all. Mistakes happen.

  • Afrazier9

    this was retarded to me you are running two min offense in a loud stadium and he makes a mistake if you are so holding people accountable the list of benching would be long as hell. So making a example of one player at the end of the game and to mention your best player is stupid and as ghe would say OBVIOUSLY meaningless fire tomlin he must go

  • srdan

    I don’t see why they have to be mutually exclusive. He has to hold people accountable while still being respected. It’s a fine line. Ask Schiano.

  • srdan

    True, except that it is easier to bench brown for cotchery. If you bench Clark and start Thomas, how do you run the nickle they ahve been running all season?

    Also, Tomlin has to keep his credibility as much as we don’t want to hear that. You start benching guys that are liked in teh locker room and you better get immediate results. If he benches clark, and we lose 3 in a row with thomas, you get a Schiano scenario.

  • srdan

    Maybe if it is his only mistake.

  • treeher

    I think if you put Ben behind the Patriots O line, you’d see an incredible performance. He tries to do too much and is getting a bit gun shy as well, expecting to be hit to often. As for the play in question, it is a timing play and Ben expects his guy to be where he’s supposed to be. Look closely at the replay. Ben throws the ball BEFORE Brown commits to the inside pattern. That’s why Brown got benched, he actually caused the interception.

  • Matt Jones

    Nobody really knows what will happen until changes are made. All I DO know as of right now, is Clark is not playing good. AB occasionally makes mistakes, but also makes clutch plays to compensate. Clark makes mistakes, and then bashes Ben on ESPN. I’m not suggesting benching the entire team, but one player for sure deserves a seat. If Thomas starts, I would suppose they fill his nickel spot with Golden. Nobody wanted Guy Whimper seeing grass this season, and oddly enough he’s graded out fine thus far… Not suggesting Guy Whimper is an all-star, but he was a player nobody thought could do an “OK” job, and he’s shown up bigger in two games than Mike Adams has since his arrival. Just saying!

  • srdan

    True, and the option may be to slide Clark into that role. Let him split time w Golden. Could be a realistic option moving forward. Good point.

  • steeltown

    Agree with that.. at 2-6 we should see what some of these guys can do, including Golden

  • cencalsteeler

    Nice post. I’d like to add the regurgitating of players, too. The most recent addition of DVD I believe, is part of our problem. We know how high his athletic threshold is, but we bring these guys back on board because they are familiar with our system. Not a good recipe for success if you ask me. How tested was Isaih Green? Nobody knows. He hasn’t been tested. At this point of the season, throw these kids out there and see what they got. It’s special teams play, it’s not rocket science. You might find a gem, you might not, but at least you tried. Sylvestor? Well, bringing him back means less snaps for Garvin and maybe even Baxter, who a lot of us were excited about. Now, were back to the same club we had last season with no real “wow” factor to turn this team into contenders.
    Also, would have to disagree with Tomlins benching. It is not working. Maybe Tomlin needs to approach this differently. Call Brown over, talk about the mistakes that were made, give the guy a pep talk and tell him the team needs him. Maybe some positive reinforcement needs to be instituted. Wasn’t a fan of how he treated Redman and Dwyer. And, if your going to institute the dog house approach, be fair about it and put Clark in there as well.

  • grasping at straws-you can’t bench everyone that is his job period. You can not have mental mistakes by your #1 wr.

  • I agree only reason Clark is starting is because he makes all the secondary calls. Maybe Shamarko is still learning this aspect.

  • Pretty sure the coaching staff knows what Green is capable of they are watching him more than this site and more than any of us. He is roster fodder.

  • Steve

    Ryan Clark will be gone next year and we will all be wanting him back.

  • No one is that bad

  • Kris Gusto Williams

    First in receptions but ninth in yards says he’s not getting a chance to run after the catch

  • Shawn S.

    Great points but I would point out that it’s one thing for the FO and HC to be drifting, but it’s another when the payers on the field are. Routes not run properly. Dropped passes. Clock mis-management. Lack of hustle. Missed tackles. Penalties. Blocked punts. Missed FGs. It goes on and on. There is just no will, no heart, no focus. No urgency. That’s the part I think Tomlin needs to figure out, how to inspire these guys. I’m not trying to sound like Tony Robbins, but geezz…
    Go Steelers.

  • Ben said on his radio show last week ” You can’t complain on the sideline and then run the wrong route, or drop a pass or fumble”

  • Im on board one losing season and fire everyone. So this is Art Rooney were wanting to bring you in for an interview for our head coaching job. You guys fired Tomlin after one losing season right? Yes Click!

  • cencalsteeler

    I said the same thing in a post yesterday. These offseason coaching hires are older guys who probably are great teachers, but may lack the tools of teaching motivation, heart, and desire. I just can’t imagine Richard Mann getting in the face of these players and firing them up! We know it’s not in LeBeau’s arsenal, so who is doing the motivating like you suggest? Even the hot headed Haley looks lethargic out there on the sidelines at times. Maybe replacing the Gatorade with some RedBull?

  • Rob Erickson

    I actually said as soon as Whimper was signed that he didn’t look too bad and even pointed out contributing factors in the GIFs that were posted on sacks he gave up to defend him. Feeling a little vindicated on Whimper. 🙂

  • greeny

    Remember he is a HOF QB.

  • Ken

    Brown has been special in a very bad season. There has been a ton of mental mistakes that didn’t get the in-game punishment. If anyone deserves a mulligan in this landslide of mistakes it is Brown. I think Tomlin was just mad as he could be at that time and made a rash decisions. I can’t say I blame him, but I would have found a defensive person to take the wrath out on.

  • 2443scott

    maybe next time brown gets a first down he wont hold ball out in front him and act like he did something great everytime when his teams struggling to win games and get first downs ….he wasnt only one who should of been sat down …and after game tomlin knew it and gave the idea heads will roll but in his news conf he gave just lip service by saying the guys played ok what kind a message is that to a team who played like they did now they know next time that tomlins all bark and no bite …

  • charles

    Not yet

  • charles

    What you are saying (especially concerning special teams coach and punter), is that somebody higher than Tomlin is making team decisions. That would be a problem (Jerry Jnes, Al Davis). Lets see if anybody has the courage to challenge this statement: Colbert and Somebody higher up are making decisions that the head coach was hired to do. A team is supposed to wear their coaches personality and this team looks naked.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Virgin Barzey, You don’t know what your talking about. TOMLIN WENT UP TO Ben because he saw how pissed he was and told him to let it go, probably because he was about to pull Brown from the game. If Ben holds the ball and gets sacked, you would be whining about holding the ball, so he does his job, his receiver screws up the route and you bitch because he didn’t rip Brown a new one. Which one of the Witt brothers are you, DIM or NIT ???

  • malsor

    the same staff that watched heyward sit last year giving the snaps to hood? the same staff that watched mundy blow all those games until he got hurt and will allen played about as well as u can play in his place (as good as TP, Clark even) the same staff that watched J. scott for half a season and then signed him in the offseason to START FOR THREE YEARS to protect the franchise’s blindside. they cant even identify talent in front of them

  • For what? He could have yes he probably should have. But I 110% would have done the same thing, you can not make that mistake its part of the reason they are 2-6 veterans making rookie mistakes.

  • He benched Jones, Hood, and Allen three defensive players and Adams.

    You can only do so much when its week 8 off season there will be plenty of roster change.

  • Ken

    They are 2-6 because they have a bunch of bad players. Brown is one that works harder and tries hard than 99% of the team. He is an example that needs to be followed. Wrong guy to make a statement with.

  • greeny

    He is going into the HOF.

  • He is paid to catch the football and be where he is supposed to be to catch the football. Wouldn’t care if he had 15 touchdowns he trails off a route go sit down.

  • Ken

    He didn’t trail off a route, he ran the wrong route. If you were coaching no player would make it through a game, perhaps not a quarter. Landry Jones would be playing QB in the second quarter after you bench the first 2.

  • Does not matter if he wants to complain all the time, then show up all game.

    I had no problem with it and After listening to AB’s radio show he did not either.

    You have to be accountable, he knows the offense he has been in it for two years. Would him catching that pass dramatically have affected the game no. But you can’t have mental mistakes period. Not when you are a #1 WR, not when you are a leader on offense, and not when the team is looking for you to make a play.

    And you are right I would have benched him after that, Clark & Ike Taylor after it was 48-31 go and sit down