Bills vs. Steelers: Antonio Brown digging deep in preparation for Buffalo's soft coverage

Mitchell Leff

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was looking back at last year's preseason game against the Bills for tips on their coverage scheme. With a Steelers running game that lacks punch and a tough Buffalo run defense, he'll need every advantage.

Tribune-Review reporter Ralph N. Paulk wrote about Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown sitting at his locker watching film on the Steelers' 2012 preseason game against Buffalo. According to Paulk, the NFL's leading pass catcher was checking out Buffalo's coverage schemes, and noted, with the exception of a few personnel changes, it's mostly the same.

How much Brown will be able to pick up from that game remains to be seen, but Buffalo has been vulnerable through the air, en route to their 3-6 record in 2013.

Buffalo is allowing 12.3 yards per catch, 23rd in the NFL in that statistic. Their 20 passing touchdowns allowed is the second-highest in the NFL (Buffalo has played nine games this season).

Some of those stats can be diluted due to the fact the Bills have only allowed two touchdowns on the ground (tied for second in the league) and their 3.9 yards per carry against is 10th in the NFL. Teams have found some success throwing on Buffalo, but it comes at a price. The Bills have 29 sacks and 12 interceptions in nine games, the third-highest total in the league in both categories.

If the Steelers are going to move the football in the air, they will need a concentrated effort between Brown - one of the league's best possession receivers - and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers have been an up-and-down team on the ground since the insertion of Le'Veon Bell into the starter and primary running back role. They've been averaging around 87 yards a game with him in there, compared to the 51.6 yards they averaged in the three games he was out. The difference is significant, but the end product still falls flat. Buffalo has a dominant defensive line with strong linebackers. Running won't come easy.

Perhaps that's why Brown is looking for anything he can to help his advantage in the passing game.

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