Antonio Brown was the Steelers' No. 2 receiver last season. Now he's No. 1 in the NFL. Brown a player ascending on a team that's been descending doesn't lead the league in catches yards yards per catch touchdowns or yards per game. Put all of his numbers together — 41 catches on 53 targets 498 yards averages of 12.1 per catch and 99.6 per game — and he easily leads Pro Football Focus' wide receiver efficiency rankings. His overall ranking of 13.5 is well ahead of Chicago's Brandon Marshall (11.5). Brown is surpassing all of his previous three seasons as well as the numbers being put up by his predecessor Mike Wallace who signed a $60 million deal with Miami but is the NFL's third-to-last ranked receiver at No. 104. Wallace has 22 catches for 281 yards and a touchdown. “He's our No. 1 guy” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said Thursday. “When Mike left he knew he had an opportunity to step into that role. He's embraced it he's worked hard and he's making plays. That's tough to do when you're ‘the' guy because that's the guy that generally sees double coverage.” Teammates say Brown isn't taking any downs off is running his routes with greater precision than before and staying on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger who — thanks in part to Brown — has thrown for 1053 yards in his past three games. “Whatever he calls I'm going to do the best job of running it whether it's long or short give every detail on that route and hopefully that can get me downfield” said Brown. At his current pace Brown not only would easily surpass his previous career highs of 69 catches for 1108 yards in 2011 he would fly past Hines Ward's team record of 112 catches in a season.
Steelers' Brown continues to prove worth as team's top wide receiver
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Oct 18