- Scott Brown, ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter
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PITTSBURGH -- The AFC’s leading receiver plays against a secondary that has given up over 300 passing yards and will be without two starters today.
Uh, yeah, advantage Antonio Brown.
When we last saw the fourth-year wide receiver he was leaving skid marks all over Chicago’s secondary. Brown had or equaled career highs in catches (nine), receiving yards (196) and touchdowns in the Steelers’ 40-23 loss.
Next up for Brown and the Steelers is a Minnesota Vikings defense that couldn’t stop Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer last week. It is also a defense that will be without starting cornerback Chris Cook and starting strong safety Jamarca Sanford.
That should make Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as excited as fantasy owners who have Brown on their team.
Earlier this week, Roethlisberger said the “sky is the limit” for Brown, and he had some interesting comments about the burden that comes with being a No. 1 wide receiver.
“He’s going to have to understand people are going to be watching him a lot more,” Roethlisberger said of Brown. “He has to let (the game) come to him. Maybe he gets 80 yards in the fourth quarter or whatever it is.”
Translation: Brown can't allow double coverage or bracket coverage to take him out of the game mentally.
Mike Wallace struggled with this at times when he was with the Steelers, and Roethlisberger said any No. 1 wideout has to accept that his impact on a game might not always be measured by statistics.
“We expect Antonio to get constant attention so therefore Heath Miller, Emmanuel (Sanders), Jerricho (Cotchery), Markus (Wheaton), those guys need to benefit from the attention Antonio’s going to get,” Roethlisberger said.
Brown said he understands this.
“I’ve just got to be disciplined in my routes, be in the right spots that Ben wants me to be, don’t rush things and just be on the same page as him,” Brown said.
Roethlisberger said that hasn’t been a problem, and the fact Brown leads the AFC with 324 receiving yards backs that up.
The question moving forward is how Brown responds to teams forcing the Steelers’ other receivers to beat them.
“He just has to make sure that he stays patient, stays humble and keeps working hard, which is who he is so I don’t expect anything different,” Roethlisberger said.