By Matthew Marczi
I was surprised to hear how many people expressed outrage over Ben Roethlisberger being ‘snubbed’ when it came to the team voting Antonio Brown the team MVP for the 2013 season.
Had they forgotten how poorly he took care of the football during the first quarter of this season? There was no bigger contributor to the first month goose egg than Roethlisberger’s lack of discipline with the football during the month of September, so despite how well he may have played since then, it has to be a critical factor when considering a year-long acclamation like this.
On the other hand, Brown has literally been the model of consistency. He and Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon, are attempting to become just the second and third players in the history of the National Football League to finish a season with at least five receptions for 50 yards in every game played.
During that rough first four-game stretch, Roethlisberger attempted 162 passes, completing 103 for 1231 yards and five touchdowns. On the other hand, he also threw five interceptions. And he fumbled five times. And he lost four of those fumbles.
When your quarterback is turning the ball over multiple times per game with regularity, your team doesn’t have a very good chance of winning. Just ask either of the franchises residing in New York right now.
During that same four-game stretch, Brown caught 32 of Roethlisberger’s 103 completions, or nearly a third. His 412 receiving yards in that span is slightly more than one-yard, while his two touchdowns is obviously more than one-third of five touchdown passes. He also didn’t turn the ball over.
In fact, he hasn’t turned the ball over at all this year, and his only fumble came just last week on a punt return when he was run into by his own teammate—a fumble that he promptly recovered.
On the season, Roethlisberger currently has completed 356 passes on 533 attempts for 4082 yards, 27 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and eight fumbles, losing six of them for a 93.7 quarterback rating.
Brown has 101 receptions—only the second player in team history with triple-digit receptions in a season—for 1412 yards—more than any Steeler player in history—and eight touchdowns, averaging 14 yards per catch.
His 101 catches on 146 targets is good for nearly a 70 percent completion percentage, and that’s only after an unusually low-percentage game in the Green Bay snow, when he caught only six of 13 targets.
27.4 of Roethlisberger’s targets have gone to Brown, yet Brown has 28.4 percent of his completions. His 1412 yards is 34.5 percent of Roethlisberger’s total yardage on the season, and he’s caught 28.6 of his touchdown passes.
Roethlisberger’s quarterback rating when throwing to Brown is 108.1. His rating when not throwing to Brown? On 255 for 387 passing, 2670 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions, it comes out to 92.4. That’s why Brown is the team’s MVP, and that’s without even mentioning his special teams contributions.