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Despite the outcome, Antonio Brown’s performance vs. the Jaguars shouldn’t be understated

The Pittsburgh Steelers losing performance vs. the Jaguars in the AFC Playoffs shouldn’t cause fans to lose sight of just how awesome Antonio Brown was in the game.

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NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Jacksonville at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers know just how good Antonio Brown is, after all, without Brown who knows what the team’s overall record would have been. You can directly go back to several close contests, and point to ridiculous catches made by Brown which turned the tide in Pittsburgh’s favor.

After Brown’s leg injury in the Week 15 game vs. the New England Patriots, experts everywhere chimed in with just when Brown would be ready to play again. The Steelers earned a first round bye, and despite not being 100-percent, Brown took the field vs. the Jaguars and did was he does best — dominated.

Let’s keep the fact he wasn’t completely healthy in the back of our minds, but also look at the opponent. Brown was going up against arguably the best cornerback duo, in A.J. Buoye and Jalen Ramsey, the NFL has to offer. Pro Football Focus (PFF) had this to say about Brown’s day in the Divisional Round of the AFC Playoffs:

Pittsburgh Steelers: Wide receiver Antonio Brown excelled as a deep threat against Jacksonville, catching all three of his deep targets (targets of 20 or more yards downfield) for two touchdowns and 93 deep receiving yards, the fourth-most ever recorded by a receiver in a Divisional Round game. What’s more impressive is that he did most of his deep ball damage against cornerback A.J. Bouye, who up until that game had allowed just two deep completions all season. While in Bouye’s coverage, Brown caught both of his deep targets for 66 yards and two scores, generating a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Prior to the contest, Bouye allowed a passer rating of just 2.5 on throws of 20 or more yards downfield, the best mark among cornerbacks with at least 15 targets. After this contest, that figure rose to 37.0, which drops him to sixth among the same group.

Brown didn’t just put up solid numbers against some lesser No. 2 cornerback, but, statistically speaking, the best deep threat defender in the NFL. Give credit to Ben Roethlisberger for some of those ridiculous throws, but the catches by Brown were equally, if not more, impressive.

So, while the focus of the fan base turns to the dismissal of Todd Haley, the hiring of a new offensive coordinator, Roethlisberger’s return and the potential future of Le’Veon Bell, they should also remember just how lucky they are to have a receiver like Brown running wild on teams, even the best the NFL has to offer, while injured.

Think about it...