Watch: Why Antonio Brown Was Invisible Against Miami

Four measley catches for 39 measly yards. That’s Antonio Brown’s stat line in Sunday’s upset loss to the Miami Dolphins.

That’s the “what.” But the “why” is a much more complex and interesting question. We explore why Brown was so quiet against Miami, looking downright average, and how Todd Haley struggled to help. Honestly, it was one of the worst performances Haley has ever had and I rarely am overly critical of a coaches gameplan.

Quick aside: sorry the audio is a bit imperfect and overmodulating-y. Think I fixed the problem after the fact so we should be good to go next week.

As always, feel free to comment with your thoughts on why Brown is struggling and how you would try and fix it. And any other feedback/ideas for future video.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Kevin artis

    What I see is half-hearted effort by other receivers running routes and the middle of the field wide open.

  • Craig M

    Excellent presentation. What I couldn’t understand about Haley was why not use our strength in running against their weakness against the run- or why not try better use of our RBs as short yardage receivers? Either option would have taken pressure off AB/ WRs and maybe opened them up for large gains down the field.

  • David Paul

    i.e., a uninspired team. That’s the MO in these games, and it starts during the preparation all week.

  • Lukesaenz

    Didn’t watch your video just yet, but I will definitely say it was a shame to see them completely abandon the run early in the third when the game was still well within reach. Made our offense completely one dimensional and took play-action out of the picture, which could have helped us generate some splash plays. This decision is even more befuddling when you consider that Ben was clearly not 100%. I definitely agree with the synopsis that this was a poor game from Haley, and it’ll be tough to bounce back with a mostly inept QB against NE.

  • RickM

    Thanks for the excellent explanation. Several questions:

    1) The technique used by the D seems pretty basic, i.e. nothing that wouldn’t have been used in the past by other teams. Is that correct or do you think they are jamming AB more this season and using that D alignment against him more? He’s always been doubled and jammed I assume in recent years.

    2) Is there anything other than lining him up differently (i.e. slot, bunch, or just not so close to the sideline) that would give him more freedom? It’s pretty obvious the other receivers weren’t winning their one-on-one routes. But if any of them were having a big day, do you think Miami would have changed how they were playing Brown if he was outside? I’m trying to understand whether losing a guy like Bryant has a major effect, or whether significant success by another receiver would change any coverage patterns when AB is on the outside.

    Personally I think you’re right that Haley might have felt uncomfortable changing a lot of sets with with Hamilton’s inexperience. Again, thanks for the explanation. Good stuff.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    And maybe just maybe Ben wouldn’t have gotten hurt

  • Addison

    They’re being out coach. It’s can’t be a talent thing. They might be the most talented offense. I don’t even get upset anymore. It’s becoming the norm for Pittsburgh

  • Daniel

    But ben wasn’t touched when he got hurt

  • RickM

    They have a whole slew of receivers who have played very few NFL games. I think the total NFL starts between Coates, Rogers and Hamilton would be all of 10 or 11. Right now it is very much a talent and experience thing. There seems to be this prevailing attitude that receivers in their first year starting will immediately be consistently successful. That’s seldom the way it works.

    The team has gone from AB, Bryant, a healthy Wheaton and Heath to AB and a bunch of inexperienced, still-learning guys. That is a big deal, but it’s seldom recognized as such.

  • TroymanianDevil

    I feel like Haley’s game plans have huge variations. They are either brilliant or head-scratching.
    Among other things, he seems to forget that we have Bell at times and then forget that other people can get the ball besides Bell.
    Still a big supporter of his and I know he’ll turn it around.

    People also forget how many players are in and out of the lineup and except AB and Bell, most of these guys are new to the offense

  • Alex Kozora

    I think the Steelers have seen it more. Especially without Bryant this year where teams are more willing to let Coates and the rest beat them.

    Yeah, if other guys make plays, it’s going to change the way Miami needs to scheme things. But they didn’t and Haley didn’t respond either.

    Thanks for watching and the insight, Rick.

  • Addison

    I agree on the receivers, but this isn’t new. It’s been going on for years. Dolphins put up 30 and it could of been 40 with much less

  • RickM

    Yes, I completely agree that the letdown, being outcoached and out-desired…whatever you want to call it in these particular types of games…has continued for years. The common denominators are usually the same: road, off a win, clearly weaker team. Sad stuff that it isn’t being fixed. We’ll never get the No. 1 seed until it is.

  • Craig M

    But Dan he was being pressured, I don’t think his passing times were that short and we still didn’t run a true screen.

  • Steve

    Alex – Thanks for taking the time in making this. Just look at the Steeler players in the last few Gifs, walking around, no enthusiasm, just ho hum. Where is the leadership in this team? Steelers thought they should win the game by showing up and the Dolphins had a good game plan. Tomlin and Steelers coaches were just out coached. Billichick very seldom gets out coached, so the Steelers better look out. They sure need a bye week and will get it after the Pats game.

  • dennisdoubleday

    Martavis Bryant is the difference. Last year teams were rotating safeties his way. The PPG tells a pretty consistent tale over 3 seasons–about a TD extra per game when he plays vs. when he doesn’t. Heck, he even got Landry Jones a win in relief.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yeah I dunno, I gotta be honest, I don’t see that same lack of enthusiasm that others are.