With his touchdown catch against the Cowboys on a fake spike play, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tied Roethlisberger’s own record that he set with tight end Heath Miller for the second-most touchdown receptions between a quarterback and a pass catcher in NFL history.
It was Brown’s 45th touchdown reception in his career, all of which came from Roethlisberger. Two games later, the pair added a trio of receiving touchdowns—or passing touchdowns, depending on your perspective—which passed Roethlisberger’s mark with Miller and put the duo just one touchdown reception behind the Steelers’ all-time record set by quarterback Terry Bradshaw and wide receiver Lynn Swann in the 1970s and early 90s.
Over the course of their playing time together, Bradshaw and Swann connected on 49 touchdown passes, though Swann only played nine seasons, from 1974 to 1982. He caught 11 touchdowns in his second season in 1975, and again during the 1978 season. Both earned him a Pro Bowl nod, and the latter gave him his first first-team All-Pro distinction.
Brown, meanwhile, became the first player in franchise history to record three consecutive seasons of at least 10 receiving touchdowns, and he joined Hines Ward as the only other Steeler with three seasons of at least 10 receiving touchdowns over the course of their entire career.
While Brown has a pretty good chance of tying the franchise record with Roethlisberger today against the Giants—New York has allowed only 10 receiving touchdowns this season, it should be noted. That is tied for the second-fewest in the league (the Steelers have allowed only 13, as well).
But that doesn’t bother Brown. He had two touchdown receptions against Washington in the season opener. They rank seventh in the league, having allowed only 14 touchdown receptions. He also had two touchdown receptions against Kansas City.
Considering that he has caught multiple touchdown passes in three different games already this year—out of 11 (or out of eight, with a healthy Roethlisberger)—there is even a reasonable shot that Brown and Roethlisberger could both pass and surpass the Steelers’ franchise record in the same game today.
Brown actually likes to score in bunches. He has 12 games in the past four seasons—10 in the past three seasons—in which he has caught at least two touchdown passes. Those 12 games alone account for 25 of his 48 touchdown receptions, or more than half.
Many have been talking up the matchup between Brown and Janoris Jenkins, but I think that it is a fair matchup for Brown. While he may have done well against A.J. Green and a hobbled Dez Bryant, his boom-or-bust play style will force him to pay for any slight mistake or risk in coverage, especially against arguably the most savvy and subtle route runner in the league.