Antonio Brown is one of the most complete wide receivers in the NFL.
He has electrifying speed, soft hands, crisp route running, and quick feet off the ball. And even though it has been just one game so far, Brown has shown how devastating his skills are after torching the Cleveland Browns.
In his Week One matchup, Brown destroyed a young and upcoming secondary in the Browns. He went on to grab 11 catches for 182 yards– making Brown the leader in both categories after week one.
His numbers look strong at a glance, but his most impressive stat was he caught all of his targets. 11 balls thrown his way, and all 11 caught. In what very much could be Ben Roethlisberger’s last year, Brown showed his connection with his gunslinger is still lethal.
At this rate, Brown would average an absurd 176 catches with 2,976 yards–both would be recording breaking stats, by a lot. (Calvin Johnson broke the record for yards in 2012 with 1,964.) Although unlikely, Brown can still put up a very prolific season.
In his last four seasons, he has caught over 100 balls, including 136 catches in 2015. All this despite Roethlisberger missing significant game time for injury over the last two years. Brown is certainly going to get the most targets from Big Gen in the pass heavy Steelers’ offense. He even has favorable matches throughout the year.
For the remaining 15 games, the Steelers are only facing six top-15 secondaries, including the Baltimore Ravens twice, according to ProFootballFocus. If Big Ben can stay healthy, which is a big if, the Brown-Roethlisberger connection will be monstrous.
That’s especially true since no other offensive weapon did anything in Week One. All-Pro rusher Le’Veon Bell ran for 32 yards. In the receiving game, wide receivers Martavis Bryant and Eli Rogers had pedestrian games with just two catches each.
Bryant, who was suspended all of 2016, has a chip on his shoulder with a lot to prove. Once the offense gets in motion, it will be hard to hone in on just Brown. And even with two defenders, it is still hard to stop him.
Brown will look to build off his great start against a strong defense in the Minnesota Vikings for a Sunday 1 p.m. game. The Vikings limited the high-scoring New Orleans Saints to under 20 points in Week One. Even though he’s playing against an exceptional defender and good friend in Xavier Rhodes, Brown will still produce.
It is the Steelers home opener, which is a place the team always plays well in. Expect another ten-plus catch performance from Brown and some end zone dancing.
Bold Predictions for 2017
Brown is going to break the NFL record for most catches in a season. He already is ranked second and fourth on the all-time list with 136 and 129. Marvin Harrison holds the title with 143.
The three-time first team All-Pro receiver is in the prime of his career with a quarterback who wants to feed him the ball at all times. Brown can easily average nine catches a game, which would beat Harrison’s record by one.
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Antonio Brown Is on Pace for a Historic Season