It would take doing something that he has only done once before in his career—just this past Sunday, in fact—but after his franchise-record performance against the Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has himself poised to make a run at some more NFL history tomorrow against a secondary that may be in his favor.
The sixth-year wide receiver set Steelers team records on Sunday with 17 receptions for 284 receiving yards, each of those numbers individually placing him on top-10 all-time lists for single games.
Should he top 200 receiving yards again against the Cleveland Browns, he will be just the second player ever to do so in consecutive games, after Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon accomplished the feat in 2013.
Coincidentally, it was against the Steelers that Gordon began his run, gaining 237 yards in a 27-11 loss. He followed up that performance by putting up a Browns-record 261 yards. His two game total of 498 yards is the most in NFL history, surpassing the mark previously set by Calvin Johnson at 284 yards.
If Brown is able to secure 215 yards through the air, he will own that accolade outright; with one more yards, he could become the only playing in NFL history to record 500 receiving yards in a two-game span.
While Sunday was the first time in his career that Brown has even managed to top 200 yards through the air in a game, he has come close a couple of times. Earlier this season, the All-Pro put up 195 yards in a commanding Week Two victory. He set his previous career high of 196 yards during the third week of the 2013 season.
Amazingly enough, Brown has only continued to elevate his game since then, and after his explosion against the Raiders, he is on pace to break his own franchise mark for receiving yards in a season for a second time, after which he will own the top three marks in team history.
His attempt to make history will come against a notably depleted Browns secondary that currently ranks 22nd in the league, giving up 254 yards through the air per game. Both starting cornerback Joe Haden and starting safety Donte Whitner have been officially declared out for the game.
In addition, fellow starting safety Tashaun Gipson finished out the week of practice listed as questionable after being out missing with an illness. He was listed as questionable prior to the team’s last game as well with an ankle injury, with the same injury, but managed to play every snap in a blowout defeat.
Two other reserve safeties are also listed as questionable, including Jordan Poyer, who has missed the past two games, and rookie Ibraheim Campbell, who started in place of Whitner in the team’s last game, but left with a hamstring injury.
Add in the fact that the Browns are determined to cover Brown man-on-man, according to their defensive coordinator, and the veteran receiver may well be licking his chops, even if it’s Landry Jones at quarterback. In Jones’ first start, he had his best game from weeks four to eight, going over 50 yards for the only time in that span for a total of 124 yards.