The 2015 season leaves a lot of what-ifs and if-onlys for the Pittsburgh Steelers. None more so than for superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Maybe if Vontaze Burfict hadn’t knocked Brown out cold at the end of the wild card game the Steelers might have advanced past the Broncos. Maybe if Le’Veon Bell or DeAngelo Williams were available they could have pulled it off.
While it’s probably not the most emotionally healthy thing in the world, it’s only natural to wonder what if.
The biggest what if may have been what kind of numbers Antonio Brown could have put up if Ben Roethlisberger had been available to play the entire regular season.
During the Week 3 matchup with the St. Louis Rams, Big Ben took a shot to his knee from St. Louis safety Mark Barron that put him on the sidelines for one month. While the Steelers were able to go 2-2 during that stretch, nobody suffered more than Brown.
Brown was on quite a tear before Roethlisberger went down. Over the first three weeks of the season he put up 436 yards and scored two touchdowns. With Michael Vick and Landry Jones behind center his production dropped off big time.
Over the next three weeks Brown managed just 111 yards and was held out of the endzone.
Once Roethlisberger returned to the lineup number 84 got it going again. He finished the season with 1,834 receiving yards and scored ten touchdowns.
Now just imagine what he would have done had Roethlisberger played all 16 games. According to ESPN, Brown averaged over 133 yards and scored .83 touchdowns per game with Big Ben playing:
Assuming that Brown had kept up that pace, he would have finished the year with roughly 2,122 yards and at least 12 touchdowns. That of course would have broken Calvin Johnson’s all-time season receiving record, which was set back in 2012 when he put up 1,964 yards with the Detroit Lions.
Don’t feel too bad for him though. Something tells us that he’s going to have plenty of chances to break that record.