DAVIE, Fla. -- It’s a matchup of two great but underrated players.
Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown have been among the most productive players at their positions this year. Yet, few talk about this pair on a national level.
Part of the issue is playing on mediocre teams. The Dolphins and Steelers have a combined record of 11-13. Another part is neither seeks media attention the way some other top cornerbacks and receivers do.
But that shouldn’t take away from Sunday’s quality matchup of talented players. Grimes has been one of the most consistent corners in the AFC, and Brown is leading the NFL with 85 receptions entering Week 14.
“He’s a great player,” Grimes said of the matchup with Brown. “They try to get him the ball in a variety of ways, whether it be a screen or just get him the ball. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he presents a lot of problems because he is [also] a punt returner. He can make a lot of people miss and break some tackles.”
Grimes has done a good job this year of shutting down top receivers on the opposing team. Grimes did a number on Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers, Vincent Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons and Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts. All of these aforementioned receivers were held below 70 yards.
But Brown presents a unique challenge. He has been very consistent and caught at least five receptions in every game this year.
“He’s very good yards after the catch. He’s a guy that you [have] to get 11 hats to the ball,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “We are going to have to tackle well, wrap up and accelerate our feet on contact. He’s got some of those instincts as a receiver that are impressive to watch on film. Obviously he is a very good ball-catcher. He catches the ball with his hands. He’s going to be a handful for us.”
The winner of the Grimes-Brown matchup could go a long way toward determining the outcome of Sunday’s game. Look for Miami to put its best corner on Pittsburgh’s best receiver for much of the game.