Just in case anyone momentarily forgot, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown reminded us how great he is on Thursday night.
Brown led the NFL with 882 receiving yards before Thursday night. He had just three touchdowns and it didn’t seem like he was having an otherworldly season. Nobody has been talking about him much, even though he’s only leading the NFL in receiving yards. That’s a testament to the standard he has set.
On Thursday night, Brown was as good as he has ever been, and the Steelers offense finally had a huge day. Pittsburgh dominated the Tennessee Titans 40-17 and Brown led the way. He had 10 catches for 144 yards and three touchdowns, doubling his season total. Brown finished his huge night by holding onto a touchdown pass in the end zone with the ball pinned to his helmet. It was that kind of night. Nobody is stopping Brown when he’s making helmet catches.
The Steelers’ offense, which was expected to challenge records but hadn’t scored 30 points all season and had only passed 26 points once, exploded. Le’Veon Bell is great. Ben Roethlisberger is probably going to the Hall of Fame. Martavis Bryant might not be the most focused player, but he has unmistakable talent, and the Steelers made a great draft pick on JuJu Smith-Schuster. But it becomes a special offense when Brown plays like he did Thursday.
Brown passed 1,000 yards this season, his fifth straight 1,000-yard season and the sixth in his career. His dizzying array of crisp routes made the Titans look foolish. They’re not the first team that has fallen victim to Brown’s quickness.
Although the Steelers can be frustrating with some sluggish performances against bad teams, they might have the most talent in the NFL. The defense has taken a big step this season. The offense hasn’t been nearly as good as expected, but it was very good Thursday. Maybe the offense is getting it going. If that happens, and the defense remains in the top five of the NFL, Pittsburgh could do special things in the postseason.
The key to it all might be Brown. Bell will do his thing, but when Brown is hot he can take the offense to another level. We saw that against the Titans.
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