The Pittsburgh Steelers and their fan base are lucky. They have a franchise quaterback, one of the best running backs in the league and possibly the best wide receiver in the NFL. The Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown connection has become one of the most reliable across the NFL landscape.
When Roethlisberger was asked on his weekly radio show on 93.7 the Fan in Pittsburgh about how much improvising Brown does on a weekly basis, his answer said it all.
"We were joking, we call him Captain Improvise," Roethlisberger said. "His unbelievable awareness of football knowledge. He's a guy that he's going to be the first pick taken when you're playing backyard football because he understands the game. You have to understand the game of football, and that's what he does as well as anybody I've ever played with."
Some of the things Brown does on the field might go unnoticed to 95 percent of the people in Heinz Field or any other NFL stadium on a particular Sunday.
"He'll run his route and then he'll see if the ball's not out on time, he'll improvise, he'll move, he'll spin, he'll break back out. It's not always easy for me because I have to sometimes adjust my throws and I've missed him on times when he's been open, but if you get the ball in his hands, special things happen."
Getting the ball to Brown is something the Steelers and Roethlisberger have done with tremendous frequency in 2014. Brown's 105 receptions tops the league, while his 1,375 yards is second only to Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons. What statistic might be more telling is that Brown has been targeted more than any other receiver in the league, with a total of 149 targets.
Some wondered if Brown could repeat his phenomenal 2013 performance. He hasn't repeated the performance, he has surpassed it. One of the most improved facets of Brown's game would be his scoring. His 11 touchdowns are second only to Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers and Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos.
'Captain Improvise' has developed a tremendous rapport with his quarterback, and that's a large reason why he has developed into a top wide-out in the game today. Not bad for a sixth-round pick from Central Michigan.