Antonio Brown quietly put up some impressive statistics on Sunday against the Cowboys in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ loss, catching 14 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. It was the third game of his career in which he caught at least 14 passes, and the only other players to have done that are Brandon Marshall and Jason Witten, according to Pro Football Reference.
Of course, there are two pretty important reasons for why his big game is being overshadowed, and the first is obviously because it came in a losing effort. His 12th reception of the game ended with a touchdown to give him 99 yards and left 42 seconds on the clock, but the Cowboys came back to score a go-ahead touchdown with nine seconds left.
That is where the second reason comes in, because his 13th and 14th receptions came with nine seconds left to play from the 25-yard line. His 13th reception went for 11 yards and put him over 100 yards for the day, but left two seconds on the clock. From the 36-yard line, he caught his 14th pass and took it 44 yards to the Cowboys’ 30-yard line before he was funneled out of bounds with no time remaining.
So in other words, his game would have been a much bigger story if his 12th reception had come with no time left and seeing him just under the 100-yard mark, as opposed to the way that it actually ended up unfolding.
But the game was a boost for his statistics, and puts him on a pace that is more in line with what he has been doing the past three years. Currently, Brown is at 69 receptions through nine games for 831 yards and seven touchdowns, the first two statistics putting him far off the pace he had last year, but still very impressive.
At this rate, Brown could be expected to reach 123 receptions on the year, which, by the way, would still be tied for the fifth-most of all time, with Brown owning two of the four seasons that topped it. He is also on pace for 1477 yards, which would only be his fourth-best mark and would be the 52nd-most yards ever through the air in a single season.
But the statistic that I think is most important is the touchdowns, because one thing that Brown has been able to remain relatively consistent with this year, even through his own inconsistencies, has been scoring.
Brown wasn’t a big scoring threat early on. He finally ‘blossomed’ with five touchdowns in his third season, and then shot up to eight in his first season as a healthy full-time starter. Over the course of the past two seasons, however, he has kept it in the double digits, and he is on pace to continue that this year.
After recording 13 touchdowns in 2014, he caught 10 touchdowns last year. He is on pace for 12 or 13 touchdowns this year. He currently ranks third in the league in receiving touchdowns, in fact, and this is the area in which the Steelers need him to remain consistent more than any other.