I couldn’t believe I was hearing talk of this among some media personnel, but they were saying that Antonio Brown was washed up. Yes, last year’s consensus No. 1 WR in the NFL was somehow washed up and nothing but a former shell of himself. Now, as Steelers fans, we know this it is not true. These media personnel were not Steelers centered media personnel, they were much more nationally centered.
There was data and several bullet points in the articles to back up how his catch percentage is way down, which can be attributed to one factor — Ben Roethlisberger.
Big Ben has missed AB more than enough times this season, and their early season chemistry had been utterly terrible. That is where his drop off occurs, as he only has one recorded drop this season, and has caught all but one (the drop) catchable target to him. So, that is debunked pretty easily.
However, despite him tying his career high in touchdowns at 13, AB has seen a drop off in his receptions and yards. Yet, that really doesn’t paint the full story. With JuJu Smith-Schuster growing into a No. 1 opposite him, it is easy to see why AB’s production would drop, and, couple in the added relief of Vance McDonald and Ryan Switzer, you have a perfect storm for the decreased production for AB.
It isn’t easy being AB, but the guy still is fantastic, and the tape sure does reflect that. Ben has looked away from him more this year, even though he still does force it at times, and AB has cooked his counterparts time and time again. Still, he has been open.
With confidence I can tell you AB is not washed. Washed receiver do not make this inverted seam look this crisp. Beautiful route and great play call by Randy Fichtner. He called a great game today. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/Z4WVpehSKq— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 17, 2018
AB is an expert route runner and still is. You all remember him straight up cooking Jalen Ramsey earlier here:
Antonio Brown had Jalen Ramsey beat but Ben was too afraid to even look in that directionpic.twitter.com/JZ4VVGmnTL— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 18, 2018
But I really want to focus on that Patriots play, because it is a perfect example of how good AB still is. If you are washed up you can not have that quickness to make that sharp of a cut seem so fluid and smooth, and thus, separation isn’t coming either, but there was about zero chance here.
Jason McCourty stood no chance due to Brown’s quickness, and that play alone shows why he is still one of the top receivers in the game.
Now, on the Ramsey one, his route running is clearly still at a peak level, as he just makes a fool of one of the best CBs in the NFL by selling that double move beautifully well. Should he have been targeted, that would have been an easy touchdown for Brown.
Love that the #Steelers got the big play going today. JuJu's TD and then AB here. AB does a great job to get that outside leverage and get vertical as he wins the hand fight. Gotta give Jackson safety help, but this is why Ben to AB is so deadly. pic.twitter.com/IYYm0HRkj9— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) November 9, 2018
I think AB has also gotten vertical more than I can ever remember him getting this year. He has the same intelligence to find the spots in the zone to get deep during the scramble drill, and of course, is a mismatch when he is matched up one-on-one. His hand fighting skills are straight up elite and deadly. He knows what to do in every situation and the film shows that AB is still a top 3 WR in the NFL.
You can argue with me that DeAndre Hopkins is better, but I don’t think I can budge much more than that. So, to everyone who thinks AB is washed, I ask you to turn on the film this year on him.
Because I know what you will find — AB is still AB.