We have all closely followed the 2015 season of Antonio Brown, during which he posted the most eye-popping numbers of his career. Over the course of the year, the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver established new franchise bests in breaking his own records with 136 receptions for 1834 yards. He also added 10 touchdowns receptions.
Of course, the conversation all season has been centered around the fact that Brown and the Steelers had to play without Ben Roethlisberger for a quarter of the season, after he went down for four games with a knee injury, which really put a dent in his stats. As a result, we have been left wondering what could have been.
The best we can do is simply offer projections based on the numbers that Brown was able to put up in the games in which Roethlisberger played, and even in that case he missed time in a few of course, including a full quarter in Week Three.
In the 12 games that the two have shared this season, Brown has caught 119 passes for 1599 yards and all 10 of his touchdowns for the season. Those are phenomenal numbers that would top the Steelers’ record books if not for Brown’s previous couple of seasons as it is.
But if you add four more games’ worth of that type of production, you get truly peerless, seemingly unthinkable video game numbers. A full season’s worth of Roethlisberger would prorate out to a year of 159 receptions for 2132 yards. He also would have had 13 or 14 touchdowns.
159 receptions and 2132 yards would shatter the current best marks on the books. As it is, the numbers that he already put up this year were the second- and fourth-most, respectively, in NFL history. Marvin Harrison’s 143 receptions remains safe for at least one more season, as does Calvin Johnson’s 1964 yards.
As mentioned, Brown’s production saw a massive decline with Roethlisberger off the field, or rather, I should say more specifically with Mike Vick on the field, since his performance was dreadful, and detrimental to the entire offense.
Brown entered the 2015 season having caught at least five passes for 50 yards in every game for two straight seasons, a record that he held onto for the first three games of the 2015 season, until he had to catch passes from Vick.
In the three games that Vick started, Brown caught a total of 11 passes for 111 yards. He caught at least 11 passes in five games this year, and had at least 111 yards in eight different games. His numbers did improve in Landry Jones’ lone start, with six receptions for 124 yards.
In that span overall, he caught 17 passes for 235 yards, which averages out to 4.25 receptions and 58.75 yards per game. With Roethlisberger, he averaged 9.9 receptions and 133.25 yards per game, which is an improvement of about 233 percent and 227 percent, respectively.