Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown is really good at football, as evidenced by his most recent stat line: 14 catches, 154 yards and arguably the coolest-looking touchdown of the season on a fake-spike from Ben Roethlisberger in a 35-30 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Brown gained 44 of his receiving yards on a single play with zeros on the clock in the fourth quarter, though he peeved fans (and his coach) by ducking out of bounds near Dallas’ 20-yard line.
Three years ago, Brown came within two centimeters of giving the Steelers a miracle victory over the Miami Dolphins during a lateral-filled 80-yard scamper on the final play of the game (his left foot nicked the paint on Miami’s sideline near the 10-yard line).
Your guess as to why Brown ran out of bounds is as good as mine, but here is an explanation from the man himself:
“In that situation, there was nowhere to go,” Brown said, according to the Observer-Reporter. “I’m running at full speed. We had one guy and three guys to the other side of the field. We lose a game and everyone finds a reason to say that one play was the reason we lost.”
Well if you put it that way...
Brown is absolutely correct in the sense that he didn’t exactly have options. Then again, it was the final play of the game; however unlikely, you never know what could happen by keeping the ball in play.
In Brown’s defense, though, the “worst possible outcome” during such a play isn’t a Steelers loss; its an injury. With Pittsburgh’s injury luck over the past two seasons, Brown can hardly be blamed for wanting to preserve his body. Losing Cameron Heyward hurts the Steelers, but losing Brown would put Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes somewhere in the neighborhood of zero percent.
Maybe Brown just wanted to pad his stats? Ehh, that’s too easy of a cop-out for the average disgruntled fan. My theory: Brown is just as discouraged as you. My guess is he wanted to move on to Cleveland as soon as possible.