Do you like toast? Well look no further because today's film room segment will review plays from the Pittsburgh Steelers' victory over the Denver Broncos. Antonio Brown was undoubtedly the best player in the game as he hauled in 16 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns in Pittsburgh's 17-point comeback of a win against the defense which was ranked number one in the NFL.
Chris Harris Jr. had not given up a touchdown to a wide receiver in almost two full calendar years, but he gave up two last week and a ton of big plays. We take a look at some of the better plays from last week's win.
Note: We already covered Brown's first touchdown against Harris Jr. in our game-changing plays article, so we will look at three other plays.
Ben Roethlisberger knows that even when Brown is being shadowed closely by a defender on a crossing route, Brown can still turn any catch into a big play if the ball gets in his hands. We have seen Antonio use the stiff arm in the past to get separation, but this one was especially nasty with the authority he displayed and he knows it when he starts high-stepping his way out of bounds after he gets the first down.
One of the biggest problems that Brown presents to defenders is that he can get off the ball better than anyone in the league and runs the crispest routes of any receiver in football. Dealing with one of those elite skills can be frustrating for defenders, dealing with both is a nightmare. Roethlisberger immediately recognized Brown's advantage when he saw the Broncos' strong safety come down into the box and open up a seam for Antonio to attack. Harris Jr. could only watch and look at his teammates in dismay wondering why he didn't have any support in covering the NFL's most dangerous man.
Go back to our game-changing plays article to view Brown's first touchdown against Harris Jr. (We would include it but NFL policies prevent us from sharing more than three GIFs per article.) When you look at it, you will see that Harris Jr. was playing for the back shoulder against Antonio Brown in the redzone just as Brown approached the goal line. Instead of the back shoulder pass which Brown and Roethlisberger have tormented defenses with this season, Roethlisberger floated a seemingly easy pass to the back pylon for Brown to pull in for a touchdown.
That was just part of Harris Jr.'s bad day last week; after being fooled for looking for that move he was not sure what to try to defend and was not as aggressive with his coverage throughout the rest of the second half. Here, you see Brown use a simple out route at the sticks on third down to end the game. His great release and a sharp route sell the play on its face, but Harris Jr.'s first priority should be to protect the sticks here as a first down would end the game. In stead of looking for a comeback or an out route, he plays conservative and makes it a routine play for Roethlisberger and Brown.
Brown's big day put him 380 yards shy of the all-time NFL single season record for receiving yards and it was againt the team ranked as the number one defense going into last week. His performance was an all-time torching that should be regarded as one of the best performances by a wide receiver at Heinz Field. Keep your eye on Brown as he faces the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns in these final two regular season games, as I am sure the record is something that Brown is aware of going into these games.