NFL

NFL AM: Steelers WR Antonio Brown Saves The AFC Playoffs

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Killer B’s Lead Steelers To Exciting Victory

The AFC North title came down to one play, and great, future Hall of Fame players did what they often do.  They made the play.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were down 27-24 with 14 seconds remaining in the game without a timeout when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw underneath to wide receiver Antonio Brown.  The 180-pound former sixth-round draft pick took on two defenders and extended his left arm with the football across the plane of the end zone to score the game-winning touchdown and catapult the Steelers to the postseason.

The grab was Brown’s 10th of the game, for 96 yards and obviously none bigger this season and possibly in his stellar career.

Apparently, All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell acted as Nostradamus as he predicted that Brown would save the day.

“Over there by the heaters before the final drive, he said ‘AB, you got to go down there and get the game winner,” Brown explained.

During the game, Brown became just the second receiver in NFL history to eclipse 100 receptions for four consecutive years, joining Indianapolis Colts Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison.  Making the special seem routine is simply what Brown has done since he arrived in Pittsburgh.

“That’s AB,” wide receiver Damarcus Ayers said. “He does it so much in practice, it doesn’t ‘wow’ you in a game. In this particular moment it’s like, ‘he’s done it again.'”

Down 20-10, the Steelers backs were against the wall and Roethlisberger and company were forced to make the most of their remaining possessions.  With Big Ben having a forgettable day up to that point, the team responded with three touchdowns in as many drives.

In the fourth quarter, Ben Roethlisberger completed 14-of-17 for 164 yards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and a rating of 146.1. And two of the three incompletions resulted from spiking the ball to stop the clock.

“There is nothing specific to point to,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh explained. “They made great throws. They made catches. Ben got out of the pocket and made a couple of plays. I think it was just playmaking. You have to come up with plays against him. We came up with interceptions early. That’s what you need to do. We were unable to do that in the fourth quarter. That was the difference in the game. They made more plays than we did. They made one more play than we did.”

The third “Killer B,” Le’Veon Bell had a large hand in the victory as well.  Bell gained 122 yards on 20 carries, with a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.

“We knew the Ravens were going to be a challenge,” said Bell. “Those guys have been playing well all year. They really had our number the last couple of times we played them. So we knew it was going to be a challenge. I’m glad we overcame it, got the game-winning touchdown and got the win.”

The Ultimate Puncher’s Chance Team

The New England Patriots are clearly the bet team in the AFC, if not the entire NFL, and they’re currently decided favorites to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LI in Houston.

As big of favorites as they are now, they would likely be even bigger favorites if Pittsburgh didn’t stage their fourth quarter comeback to beat the Baltimore Ravens.

The Steelers don’t seem to be as good of a team as the Patriots, but there are three reasons why you have to believe in them to at the very least make it interesting- The Killer B’s.

Nobody makes team’s play “left-handed” better than New England, but the Steelers offense has elite players in the running game as well as in the passing game.  If you take one of those things away, they can not only still function but thrive in the other one.

Tom Brady will go down as one of the best, if not the very best quarterback to ever play the game. Ben Roethlisberger will never have his career.

Ben Roethlisberger will never have his career.

He doesn’t need to, he just needs to get the better of Brady’s defense for one evening.  Inferior quarterbacks such as Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco and Peyton Manning have all done it, some of them multiple times.

At this point, we don’t know if the Steelers will finish with the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the AFC.  They might not even get to play New England, but we’re all hoping they do.

Who doesn’t want a big time matchup of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks for the right to play in the Super Bowl?

 


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.