2016 South Side Questions: Will Big Ben-AB Connection Make Steelers History Sunday?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Will Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger make Steelers history tomorrow with their 50th touchdown connection?

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver leads the league with 11 touchdown receptions thus far this season, and all of them have come from Ben Roethlisberger. So did all 10 of his receiving touchdowns in 2015—and all 13 from the 2014 season. In fact, every one of his 49 touchdown receptions have come with Roethlisberger on the other end of the pass.

No other combination of pass thrower and pass catcher in Steelers history has ever connected on more touchdowns than have Brown and Roethlisberger, who on Sunday tied a 35-year-old record that was held solely by Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann for all that time.

Brown has caught six touchdown passes over the course of his last five games, and has caught at least one touchdown in four of the five, so at least based on his work since the bye week, the odds favor him catching a touchdown pass tomorrow, even against a Bills secondary that ranks in the top 10 in terms of passing yardage allowed and receiving touchdowns allowed.

Whenever it does come, and it certainly has a feeling of inevitability, the next touchdown pass that Brown catches from Roethlisberger will be their 50th such connection, which will put them in truly rarified air in the history of one of the most decorated franchises in NFL history.

No other duo has eclipsed the 50-touchdown mark before—although it you are wondering, Brown and Roethlisberger are nowhere near setting the all-time record, which belongs to Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Those two have combined for 118 touchdown passes, the only duo to eclipse 100 touchdowns.

In fact, to crack even the top 10 of all time, the Steelers pair would need to pass a moving target, as Philip Rivers and his tight end, Antonio Gates, have hooked up for 63 touchdowns, and potentially counting. But getting to 50 would be a nice start. And 63 could well be on the horizon for 2017.

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