Antonio Brown earns highest WR grade ever in win over Oakland

Sam Monson explains how Antonio Brown's brilliance and Oakland's poor coverage led to a Steelers win on Sunday.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Antonio Brown earns highest WR grade ever in win over Oakland


Sometimes it’s impressive just how spectacularly you can fail to cover Antonio Brown. I’m not suggesting the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have other weapons, but as a defense if you’re going to focus your attention somewhere in the Steelers’ receiving corps, it should be Brown.

The Raiders however somehow conspired to let him go off for 17 receptions and 284 yards. They did however keep him out of the end zone, so … call it a tie?

Brown’s +8.8 grade against Oakland is the highest mark we have ever given a receiver for a single game, and he almost single-handedly kept the Steelers in this game and brought them the win. Brown and DeAngelo Williams alone combined for 537 yards from scrimmage, almost 100 yards more than the entire Raiders offense.

It’s difficult to even pin the blame on letting Brown go off on any one particular player. He had what would be excellent single-game production against more than one Raiders defensive back.

D.J Hayden surrendered eight catches to him on just nine targets for 119 yards, while David Amerson was beaten eight times for 159 yards, though he did at least notch a pick and there were four incomplete passes intended for Brown while he was in coverage.

What’s perhaps the worst aspect of the job the Raiders did against Brown is that he was still opening things up for other people despite torching them for 17 catches himself. TE Jesse James scored a touchdown in large part because multiple Oakland defenders were sucked up onto Brown’s shallow crosser in front of the goal line, allowing James to sneak behind the coverage into the back of the end zone.

As tends to happen with failures of this magnitude, the hits came all game long and Brown got Oakland again for arguably the biggest play of the game late. With under a minute remaining in a tied game, the Steelers threw the ball on a quick tunnel screen to Brown, who took off running with a pair of Raiders defensive backs sprawled on the turf.

As is perhaps symbolic of Oakland’s season in coverage, only an ageless Charles Woodson chasing him down from his free safety position was able to prevent Brown scoring and finishing the damage right then and there.

Woodson forced Brown out of bounds, but deep inside the red zone the play was enough to give the Steelers an easy kick to win.

About the only thing Brown did wrong all game was fumbling the ball on a punt return, and he more than made up for the error. Pittsburgh has players who can hurt you, but in today’s NFL it’s simply mind-blowing that you can somehow allow a team’s biggest threat to catch 17 passes for 284 yards, and still allow him to actually open things up for other players along the way.

Oakland’s offense deserved to win this game, and certain members of the defense did, but Charles Woodson aside this defense simply can’t cover without T.J. Carrie in the lineup.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • shaunhan murray

    It turns out Antonio Brown is good. Who woulda thunk it?

    • Rick Eger

      Where ya been in your Mothers basement, A.B.’s been the best W.R. in the game since 2013.

      • shaunhan murray

        I was hoping I wouldn’t have to put (sarcasm) on my comment I was wrong.

        • Taleem Lyon

          lol AB is a great receiver. In other news today, water is wet

          • ObiRynDenobi

            Good one!

          • Terrence Ganten

            Not according to ben carson

        • Luis Garcia

          I also hate having to explain sarcasm, but this one was kind of dark. Anyways me guilty as well.

          • shaunhan murray

            I’m honestly am a hypocrite because I hate wen other people use sarcasm online.I just figured people have seen my comments before nd knew that I am a steelers fan and support bell brown and ben at every opportunity. My reply to that guy was kind of mean cuz the way he commented on it

        • NortonSmitty

          Yea, Rickey Boy got to re-calibrate that sarcasm meter.

    • Tito Puente

      Please, don’t you even watch the games?

      My Raiders had that fool on lockdown, he didn’t even go over 300 yards receiving or get in the endzone, he must not be very good.

      Did you get that scrub off your practice squad?

      • steelcity beer

        Now that was really funny thanks to you Raider fan

      • shaunhan murray

        No I cut him for jacoby jones. (Joke)

  • ObiRynDenobi

    He does this to everybody!

  • Johnny Goodman

    With Big Ben out AB needs to stick like glue to Landry Jones this week since it seems Jones has developed a chemistry with M. Bryant.

  • Robert Hersh

    Who was the better receiver:Stallworth, Swan or Brown?

    • treeher

      AB, no contest

    • drputts

      John Stallworth hands down. Why? He looked the ball in his hands and made unbelievable catches from Badshaw. AB doesn’t do this consistantly. The eyes lead the body for eye -hand coordination..

    • steve sepos

      Swann was my favorite. But all are great and AB is showing he is the best