The Pittsburgh Steelers are fortunate to have a wide receiver with the skill of Antonio Brown. The Jacksonville Jaguars are equally lucky to have Jalen Ramsey at cornerback. The two of them had quite a battle during their one-on-one matchups on Sunday, both of them scoring some big wins in the process and making it difficult to declare a clear winner.
The first big play in that sequence came early in the second quarter. With the Steelers sitting at just their own 24 on third and 11, Ben Roethlisberger looked Brown’s way on the key possession down. He was able to get some separation, but Ramsey ultimately won with a late move to defend the ball away over the top.
Later in the quarter, Brown came out of the slot with Ramsey playing deep coverage, and as the receiver ran a post pattern, the cornerback read the play and undercut the route, making a great interception that Roethlisberger clearly did not anticipate.
Late in the half, Brown clearly won and was wide open streaking deep, but Roethlisberger never saw him, instead checking the ball down to James Conner. The two had a bit of a discussion about this during the two-minute warning.
So Roethlisberger went to him right away on the next play, going deep against Ramsey down the right sideline. Brown did get behind him, but the pass was a bit long and incomplete. Still, another win on the route, even without a lot of separation.
Into the third quarter, the offense finally made it into the red zone, down to the Jaguars’ 11-yard line, when Roethlisberger looked in the direction of his favorite target. Ramsey had one-on-one coverage against him, and was able to get inside enough to pick off the pass for a second time. Later in the week, Roethlisberger said that he put the ball where he wanted it.
Things finally started to turn around later in the game, Roethlisberger finding Brown for a 78-yard touchdown, though Ramsey wasn’t the primary coverage responsibility on this route. He was slow to break once Brown took off down the field, and was unable to pin him to the sideline late, however, ultimately allowing him to score.
Finally, toward the very end of the game, Brown got the better of Ramsey out of the slot, catching a slant for a 25-yard gain that set the Steelers up at the two-yard line on a play that came on third and 10 from the 27.
It would take them another 45 seconds to get into the end zone, but clearly Brown’s contributions late in the game ended up playing a crucial role in turning the tide. But it was a hard-fought battle against Ramsey all day.