I wonder how many articles have been written that have begun with some variety of the following opening statement: what in the world would the Pittsburgh Steelers do without Antonio Brown?
Once again, the All-Pro wide receiver showed why he is just that, and the best in the game. Brown has been particularly dominant over the course of the Steelers’ past two games, and tonight produced a perfect passer rating when targeted. He caught 10 of 12 targets for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
He caught 10 passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns in the Steelers’ previous game two Thursdays ago as well, giving him 20 receptions for 313 yards and five touchdowns over the course of just the past two games.
But the Steelers needed just about every yard that he earned tonight, in a game that ended with a 53-yard game-winning field goal at the end of regulation, which was the longest field goal in Chris Boswell’s career, and the longest field goal made by a Steelers kicker since 2014.
The game started with a 20-yard reception from Ben Roethlisberger to Brown, kicking off an impressive opening drive for the quarterback that was mired only by drops. He caught another two passes for 15 yards, including a two-yard pass on third and one, on a drive that ultimately stalled on the Packers’ 41.
He was critical, and clutch, on the following touchdown drive, coming up with a huge catch-and-run of 39 yards, which came on third and five, Roethlisberger flushed up in the pocket and the receiver weaving his way through traffic to make it happen. He caught the two-point conversion that followed a 17-yard Martavis Bryant touchdown pass.
Later, late in the third, Roethlisberger connected with him on an 11-yard pass that set up first and goal at the three. After Bryant drew a pass interference penalty, setting up first and goal, the eight-year receiver beat the coverage on a fade route for the touchdown.
His next reception came with 8:50 to play in the game. In a tie game, on a drive riding Le’Veon Bell, Roethlisberger took a shot to Brown down the right sideline, resulting in a 33-yard reception for his second touchdown of the game, giving Pittsburgh its first lead since the opening drive.
He added a 13-yard reception on the second-to-last drive, which ended in a punt, but it was his two back-to-back receptions with 17 seconds remaining beginning from the 30-yard line that won the game. His 23-yard reception to start the drive was one for his career highlight reel, doing an amazing job of keeping his feet inbounds while making a stabbing grab away from his body.
He followed up with a 14-yard reception to the 33-yard line on the following play. After Bell lost two yards, Boswell was able to connect from 53 yards away to secure the Steelers’ sixth victory in a row. And Brown perhaps deserves more credit than anybody for it.