Brown Crushes Browns' Hopes

Steelers' big-play receiver Antonio Brown had a career game and the game-clinching touchdown to beat the Browns.

Takes a tough guy to know one.

"Man, that guy's tough," Antonio Brown marveled about Ben Roethlisberger following the Steelers' 14-3 win over the Cleveland Browns.

"You can't say enough about our quarterback, man."

Brown was effusive, as was everyone else, after Roethlisberger played the second half with a high ankle sprain Thursday night.

But Roethlisberger and several other Steelers were equally effusive in their praise of Brown, who had a career-high 151 yards receiving and a career-long 79-yard reception, which ended in a touchdown with 2:52 remaining to clinch the Steelers' 10th win of the season.

The touchdown came on a second-and-9 pass against a Browns defense that loaded the box in selling out to stop the Steelers' running game. But Brown ran an out, Roethlisberger hit him, cornerback Joe Haden fell down, and Brown saw open grass – about 65 yards of it – in front of him.

His only obstacle was safety Michael Adams, but Brown cut inside and then back out to the sideline before sprinting past Adams to score the touchdown.

"I'm glad he scored because I wouldn't have been able to make it all the way down there if we had to run another play," said Roethlisberger. "It's just one of those things where the play was called and he got his eyes on me like we always talk about. He got separation and then did all the rest. My job was pretty easy."

Sure, if playing on one leg was easy.

"I'm just thankful to play with him," said Brown. "He gave me a great back-shoulder throw, it allowed the DB to fall down and pretty much from there it was me and the safety one on one. Ben made a great throw where no one but me could've got to the ball."

Roethlisberger made another great throw to Brown earlier in the fourth quarter. He gunned a pass on third-and-20 high over the deep middle that Brown leaped to snare before taking off for a 27-yard gain to the Cleveland 24.

Mike Wallace appeared to score two plays later, but the touchdown was reversed by instant replay and the Steelers were stopped at the goal line on four running plays.

The Steelers needed a William Gay interception to thwart the Browns before Brown's 79-yard touchdown cemented the win.

Brown finished the game with 5 catches and the 151 yards. For the season, the emerging second-year star has 55 catches for 925 yards, or 7 catches and 109 yards behind Wallace, the team leader in both categories.

"I'm getting close," Brown said with a laugh. "But that's really not my focus. I just want to contribute key plays to my team so we can continue to win. That's where my focus is."

"I just wish everybody could see Antonio work throughout the week," said teammate Jerricho Cotchery. "I mean the same guy that you see on Sundays, he puts in the same type of work throughout the week. It's just paying off for him right now."

During the week, the coaches have to rein Brown in. But during the game – at least this one – there was nothing cautious about the coach's approach, particularly on the late pass to Brown.

"We weren't going to play it safe," Cotchery said. "I heard coach over there on the sidelines say ‘Throw it. Throw it.' The confidence he has in this offense, that's the confidence he has in this team and in every man in this locker room."

The confidence in one man – Antonio Brown – is particularly high today.

"Tough, tough guy. Tough guy," Cotchery said. "He doesn't blink at all."

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