Antonio Brown Wide-Open Play Against Ravens: Ad Lib Or By Design?

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is certainly happy his team got the win on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens but with that said, he wasn’t happy that he didn’t contribute very much during it.

By now, you’ve probably already seen Brown getting mad after quarterback Ben Roethlisberger failed to see him wide-open down the field on a 3rd and 4 play from the Steelers 36-yard-line with 12:26 left in the second quarter.

On the play in question, Brown runs a mesh concept with tight end Jesse James and after successfully rubbing off his defender, he turns his route up the field and was indeed wide-open. Roethlisberger just didn’t see him and instead chose to try to dump the football off to running back Le’Veon Bell along the right sideline. That pass was high and incomplete. Regardless, it would have resulted in a failed third down conversion just the same.

Ever since the game ended, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not Brown ad libbed on the play or if he was indeed supposed to turn his route up the field like he did. Well, according to James after the game, Brown was doing what he was supposed to do, according to Jeremy Fowler of

Apparently, James went on to say the Steelers have tried to run that play in the past with wide receiver Eli Rogers only to have the pass from Roethlisberger to him fall incomplete. With some quick research, I was able to find one instance of that play and it happened in the Steelers AFC Championship loss to the New England Patriots last season. In fact, it was even a 3rd and 4 play from the Steelers own 37-yard-line.

On that failed pass, as you can see above, Rogers really didn’t do as good of a job as Brown did when it comes to rubbing his defender off.

The two plays are nearly identical except for perhaps the spacing of the wide receivers and they’re run from opposite directions.

If you needed any other confirmation concerning whether or not Brown’s route was by design, check out the reaction of Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley after Roethlisberger dumps the ball off to Bell.

James perhaps summed the play up the best after the game.

“That kind of stuff happens throughout a football game,” said James, per Fowler.

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