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Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders among lowest drop rate receivers in NFL

While Brown and Sanders have shined in terms of catching the ball, according to Pro Football Focus, former Steelers WR Mike Wallace has struggled.

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Antonio Brown catching a pass from Ben Roethlisberger has been among the more common events to take place during a Steelers game this year.

Brown leads the league with 56 receptions, and is on pace to shatter the franchise's record, 112 catches by Hines Ward in 2002.

What's equally uncommon - and very much part of the reason Brown is on such a pace - is the amount of passes he drops. He's only failed to secure one catchable ball, according to Pro Football Focus. His drop rate is 1.75, the the third-best in the league behind Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald and Baltimore's Torrey Smith, who have not dropped a pass this season.

Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders is sixth in the NFL in this stat, only having dropped one pass on 32 catchable throws in his direction.

Brown has one of the highest catch-to-target ratios in the league (69 targets with 56 catches), but Sanders only has 31 catches in 55 targets, suggesting there's something of a lack of cohesion between himself and Roethlisberger.

It could be worse, though. Former Steelers WR Mike Wallace, now with Miami, is 45th in the league in the stat, having dropped seven passes on 37 catchable throws.

Clearly, there's some subjectivity involved. Brown appeared to have dropped two catchable passes in that loss to Oakland, and he dropped one against the Jets in Week 6. Even if the numbers aren't exact, it's difficult to say either have struggled to make catches this year.

And it's a credit as well as a knock against the quarterback. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was off to a rough start, and recovered to an extent. Some of that can be attributed to solid play at the wide receiver position, but this stat doesn't tell the whole story. Sanders clearly did not follow to where Roethlisberger expected him to go on a third down throw against Oakland. It happened later in the game as well, as Roethlisberger threw more inside than Sanders appeared to expect to need to go.

Miscalcuations and communications errors like this are stalling the Steelers' offense, even as their passing offense averages a respectable 253 yards per game - 13th in the NFL. If the Steelers' top two receivers are among the best in the NFL in terms of their hands, it's obviously a benefit, but the full execution of a successful play is not happening often enough, and that is a group failure that every player on the offense shares.

At least Wallace can neither be seen as a problem nor a benefit anymore.

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