Friday, November 8, 2013
Brown primed to break punt return for TD
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- Antonio Brown leads the NFL with 61 receptions, but the fourth-year wide receiver is looking to do even more to help the Steelers bounce back after a disastrous first half of the season.
“Maybe I need to find a way to help us win,” Brown said, “whether that’s taking a punt back, any difference to change the outcome of the game.”
Brown has been close to breaking a punt return for a touchdown, nearly scoring two weeks ago in Oakland and following a 44-yard punt return against the Raiders with a 24-yarder against the Patriots.
Next up for the Steelers is a Bills team that has struggled to cover punts.
Buffalo is 27th in the NFL in opponents’ punt return average (11.6 yards).
“We’ve been so close to popping one of these returns for a touchdown,” said linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, who is on the kickoff and punt return teams. “We’ve got to get A.B. free. We’ve got to get him in the end zone.”
Coach Mike Tomlin would no doubt be in favor of that as the Steelers have struggled to score touchdowns this season despite getting four of them in the 55-31 loss to the Patriots.
The Steelers have also been close to breaking big returns on kickoffs.
Felix Jones has a pair of returns of at least 40 yards, and Emmanuel Sanders came within inches of a 107-yard kickoff return against the Ravens.
Brown is the most obvious candidate to reach the end zone. He is 11th in the NFL in punt return average (10.4 yards) and is dynamic in the open field.
Sylvester said the punt return team has made it a goal to spring Brown for at least one touchdown return in the second half of the season.
“He’s due for a couple,” Sylvester said of Brown. “He’s been so close to breaking them. We’ve got to get him free.”