Antonio Brown picks up the Pittsburgh Steelers with record day

With Ben Roethlisberger out with a mid-foot sprain, Antonio Brown lifted the Steelers to a win with a record-setting performance.

PITTSBURGH -- Le'Veon Bell goes down.


Where's AB?


Ben Roethlisberger goes down.


Where's AB?


There's been one constant throughout this injury-wracked season for the Pittsburgh Steelers:


Antonio Brown.


Always Brilliant.


Brown was brilliant again Sunday in leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 38-35 win that saved their season.


And he was more brilliant than at any time in his career, and even more brilliant than any previous Steelers receiver.


Brown caught a team-record 17 passes for a team-record 284 yards Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Throw in his 22 yards on a pair of end-arounds and he finished with 306 yards of total offense. He and DeAngelo Williams -- who rushed for 170 yards and added 55 yards receiving -- became the first tandem in NFL history to surpass 300 and 200 yards of total offense, respectively.


"I had a good flow," was how Brown explained his game. "I was feeling really good, positive energy. I was in the flow and within every series we were getting the looks we practiced for, and I was pretty positive today."


The looks for which Brown and the Steelers practiced were one-on-one coverage. And Williams' running forced the Raiders to call even less double coverage and allowed Brown and his receiving teammates to line up in against man coverage. As Heath Miller said, "It's hard for one person to cover that guy."


In such instances, Roethlisberger will seek out Brown more times than not, and Roethlisberger did that 20 times yesterday until leaving the game in the fourth quarter with what's being reported as a mid-foot sprain.


Roethlisberger will likely miss next Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns, and rest throughout the ensuing bye week, but Brown will be available Sunday. And he'll no doubt work throughout the bye week as well.


"He's a competitor, and more importantly than that," said Mike Tomlin, "he's a hard and detailed worker. That does football justice, when a guy works the way he works gets an opportunity to deliver for you in the manner in which he was able to today."


Not only did Brown put up record-setting numbers, he made the game-saving play.


With Roethlisberger out, and the Raiders already having cut the Steelers' 14-point lead in half, Brown fumbled his only attempt at a punt return. But the Raiders didn't score, thanks to Ross Cockrell's interception in the end zone.


However, the Steelers couldn't muster much offense with Landry Jones at quarterback. He did throw a 17-yard pass to Brown on third-and-11, but it was called back because of offensive pass interference -- a pick play -- on Markus Wheaton.


"When you get collisions like that, and a guy comes open like that, that's what they call," said Wheaton.


A play later, the Steelers were forced to punt and the Raiders drove for the tying touchdown with 1:15 left in the game.


With the game seemingly headed for overtime, and the Steelers facing a third-and-2 from their own 28, Jones threw a short pass to Brown, who got more than a first down. Brown used Wheaton to cause the Raiders defenders to collide and fall down and Brown was off for a 57-yard gain to put the Steelers were in field goal range. Chris Boswell delivered the game-winning kick from 18 yards away with a couple of seconds remaining.


Tomlin was asked to explain the play call that allowed Brown to "flip the field."


"They were a five-man pressure team and they were a man-free coverage team," Tomlin said. "If you're throwing to catch the ball, there were going to be opportunities for run-after-the-catch if the guy in coverage doesn't make the tackle. It's just general football things there, allowing the guy to do what he does, which is catch and run."


All Brown had to say about it was, "I like one-on-one."


He liked it all the way to the ninth-highest receiving yardage total in NFL history, only 52 behind Flipper Anderson's record 336 receiving yards set in 1989.


"All I can say is wow," said Raiders safety Charles Woodson. "Take nothing away from Antonio. He is one of the most exciting players in the NFL. But we had times when we had players on him, and we just did not make the play."


The Raiders couldn't make the play in the final minute and Brown made them 4-4 because of it. He also made the Steelers 5-4 and left them alive at a perilous point in the season.


"We look at this as the fresh start to a new season," said Brown. "It's the third quarter of the season and we were able to get a win today, and we're excited about that."


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