The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is good. The weapons they have are tremendous, but the connection between quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown is what makes the offense truly fun to watch. Those quick slant routes, the masterful throws and toe-tapping catches along the sideline and of course those broken plays where Brown and Roethlisberger seemingly have ESP and are able to connect like none other in the NFL.
When ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler asked Roethslisberger which route Brown runs the best, his response speaks to the work ethic not only of Brown, but between quarterback and wide receiver.
"Any of them," said Roethlisberger about a favorite route for Brown. "Even when it's not what it's supposed to be, it seems to work. I guess that means we're on the same page. He's a special player. Probably the best receiver I've ever played with."
Roethlisberger has played with some pretty good receivers too. Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes, just to name a few. But what Roethlisberger has in Brown is a receiver who never quits, and has a work ethic which sets the tone for the rest of the receiving corps.
"You never know where the ball is going to come," Brown said. "That's why you always keep your feet moving, even after you look back at the quarterback. The last thing you want is the QB to overthrow you. When making the catch, you have to go up and attack the ball. This is where doing your power squats and power lunges pays dividends."
Although the timing routes aren't an issue with this QB-WR duo, the broken plays are the plays which seemingly frustrate defenders, and make the Roethlisberger to Brown connection truly special.
Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns had this to say about covering Brown, "[Brown is] really, really good at feeling where Ben Roethlisberger is and working without the ball." This type of connection only comes with a tremendous amount of trust between the quarterback and receiver. "I've got a great quarterback who will give me a chance to win." Brown said. And why wouldn't Roethlisberger give him every chance possible to win those one-on-one matchups as Brown lead the league in receptions and yardage in 2014.
This connection will surely turn the Steelers' offense from good to great in 2015, and it might not have anything with Brown at all. The attention Antonio Brown now draws will only help Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Heath Miller and rookie Sammie Coates go against single coverage and the ability to win their matchup to make big plays.
The Steelers offense is becoming a "how do you want to get beat" type of offense. If you want to stop Brown, Bryant and company will gladly take advantage of their more favorable matchups. The Steelers' offense developing into one of the top units in the league is in large part due to Roethlisberger and Brown and the chemistry they have developed over time.