As has so often been the case over the course of the past several years, wide receiver Antonio Brown once again showed that he is often the only consistent piece of the puzzle on the offensive side of the ball for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The All-Pro yesterday limited his tantrums to on-field exploitation of the Jaguars’ defensive backs over the course of accumulating another 10 receptions for 157 yards, which makes it the third game out of five this season in which he has caught at least 10 passes for at least 100 yards.
And those numbers were not charity, either, but rather a process that unfolded over the course of the entire game, which opened things up with a 49-yard reception on a deep pass as the first offensive play of the game for the Steelers.
His second reception of the game was a 15-yarder against Jalen Ramsey, while his third was a screen pass from the Steelers’ own five-yard line on third and 10, which he took for the 10 yards needed for the first down up the right sideline.
On the final drive of the first half, his 23-yard reception put the team in field goal range with time running low, but Ben Roethlisberger could not find him in the end zone two plays later with Ramsey playing him tight and not letting him break to the sideline as was intended.
One of his more overlooked plays of the day went for just four yards, but it came on third and two for a key conversion that led the Steelers to their third field goal, which allowed them to retake the lead at the top of the second half. It was a simply slant screen, but it worked exactly as it was meant to.
Things started to go south at that point, though. Following an incompletion on a deep target later on that drive, the possession ended with an ill-advised throw that Roethlisberger forced to his favorite target on third and goal that was doomed to fall incomplete, simply because it came on a route on the short side of the field that lacked the space to run it.
The next two targets that Roethlisberger threw in Brown’s direction were intercepted and returned for touchdowns, but he had no chance on either of them. The first one was tipped at the line of scrimmage and subtly redirected, but was likely to be intercepted by the linebacker playing in front of Brown regardless. The second interception was a high pass deep down the field.
He added several more catches for short gains later on, as well as a 21-yarder, but over the sequence of three plays, he had a touchdown of 28 yards nullified by a holding penalty on the offensive line and then had his route undercut by the safety for yet another safety. Your playmakers can only make plays when you can get them the ball.