Steelers: Can Antonio Brown be dominant without Ben?


Antonio Brown is easily one of the best wide receivers in the league, if not the best. Browns accolades throughout the last couple of seasons have been astronomical, and some record-breaking.

Drafted in the 6th round because of his height, Brown has had an entire career of proving people wrong for passing him up on draft day, and the Steelers’ are fortunate to be the ones who took a chance on him.In Thursday’s crushing loss to the division rival Baltimore Ravens, Brown broke a streak that had been one of the most entertaining to keep track of.

Brown had caught at least 5 receptions, and received for more than 50 yards in 35 straight games, the previous record being 19. It’s very fitting that the first game without Ben Roethlisberger, the streak would end.

On a team that was lacking one of its big weapons in Martavis Bryant, one could expect that Brown would see even more action than usual, but that was not the case. While he did have 5 receptions, he only had 42 yards of receiving.

That might not sound terrible, but for a receiver that hadn’t had a game with less than 100 yards receiving all season, it was more than disappointing, especially in a game as close and important as this one.

Steelers fans also had the misfortune of witnesses Brown drop a touchdown that he usually caught with Ben throwing the ball, and a vital 4th down incompletion that cost them the game.

One argument was that the fact that Mike Vick is a leftie, and therefore the ball spins the opposite way, it could’ve thrown Brown off, but that can’t totally be it, because one has to imagine that Brown and Vick have been practicing together.

In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Antonio Brown pointed to the idea that Vick doesn’t exactly have the same timing as Ben does, and how he needs to adapt to the Steelers’ offense.

Sep 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) gestures on the field before playing the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 43-18. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

He also admitted his frustration with Ben being out, which points to the fact that Brown sorely misses Roethlisberger throwing him the football, and you can’t blame him.

Roethlisberger and Brown’s connections is truly one of the most beautiful sights in modern-day football. Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine how Ben finds a way to perfectly place the ball in Brown’s hands, but he always finds a way, and Vick needs to as well.

With Bryant returning, Vick does receive another weapon, but Brown is the key to the Steelers’ passing game, and Vick needs to get the ball to him, and trust him more.

Hopefully, Vick and Brown can sort things out before Monday, and having the long break between should definitely help, but it’ll be interesting to see how the offense runs on Monday. As Tomlin stated when Ben went down, the idea is to shape the offense around Vick, with his mobility and other traits, and not the other way around.

Brown, and the rest of the Steelers cannot expect the veteran quarterback to play like Roethlisberger, because they’re both very different players.

With the Steelers’ coaching staff having had very little time to put together a game plan with Vick against the Ravens, Monday could truly act as the first true test for the new look offense, and hopefully it’ll look well enough to pull out of San Diego with a win.

Next: What Martavis Bryant brings to the Steelers

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