When two players have the connection of Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger, it takes longer than 3 days to recreate such a chemistry with another signal caller. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Steelers found this out the hard way as the disconnect between Brown and backup Michael Vick was noticeable in the team's 23-20 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
How did Brown feel after the Thursday Night Football game?
"Total frustration," Brown told Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I appreciate the quarterback (Roethlisberger) now that's he's not out there. It is really different."
It is natural for a player as productive as Brown to become frustrated when his usual production drops off the charts. Brown saw his 5 receptions with at least 50 yards streak come to an end after 35 games; however, it will take time for he and Vick to get on the same page. The Steelers just hope an extended break between the Baltimore game in Week 4 and the Monday Night Football game in Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers will help bridge the gap between the quarterback and wide receiver.
"It's hard to do. It's not going to be easy," Vick said of creating chemistry with Brown. "Ben and Antonio have chemistry that is out of this world. I admired from afar. We certainly have time to get on the same page and try not to do everything they did because I am not Ben, and I can't do what he does so I have to play my part and get on the same page as Antonio. Certainly, we have to get him involved more."
Getting Brown involved more should be a top priority, but there is a new wrinkle to the offense heading into Week 5, and that is the return of Martavis Bryant. Bryant returning to the lineup will help Brown in a lot of ways, and the most important will be defenses not being able to constantly double team Brown the entire game.
"It is going to be great for this entire team, especially for us on offense," Vick said in regards to Bryant's return. "It is going to allow Antonio not to see as much double coverage. He is a key addition to us."
Despite Bryant taking potential targets away from Brown, it should allow Brown to have more space and make more plays with defenses having to account for two big play threats on the offensive side of the ball. This was the week fans had circled on their schedules when the 4 B's (Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant) all were on the field together. Despite that reunion being on hold for few more weeks, the hope is the 3 B's who are in the lineup can gel with Vick under center, at least until Roethlisberger returns.
If not, it could be tough sledding for an offense absolutely brimming with offensive talent and potential.