Brown Is Down

When the 2017 NFL season comes to an end, if I get asked what am I going to remember most about this season, I won’t even hesitate to say how so many injuries occurred this year and if you think about it, this all started when Julian Edelman tore his ACL during a preseason game against the Detroit Lions in August. After that, we saw David Johnson injure his wrist, Eric Berry tear his Achilles, Dalvin Cook tear his ACL, Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice, Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, J.J. Watt fractured his leg, Odell broke his ankle and Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles. Let’s not forget that the guy that was the favorite to win the league MVP in Carson Wentz is also done for the year after tearing his ACL. That’s a lot and all those players mentioned are well-known guys. We can now add another player to the list, unfortunately, Mr. Antonio Brown. During the Steelers game yesterday against the Patriots, he went down and grabbed his leg. The entire city of Pittsburgh all held their breath as did football fans all around the world. I knew it wasn’t broken because if it was, he wouldn’t have been able to put any type of weight on it. It was announced to be a partially torn muscle in his calf and he will be out for the rest of the season, but back in time for the playoffs.

This guy is the best wide receiver in the league and when Carson Wentz went down, he slipped into my top spot as the favorite to win the award and a wide receiver has never been named the league’s most valuable player. Le’Veon Bell maybe the most important player to the Steelers offense, but AB really makes this unit flow as a whole. He’s the best player on the field for the Steelers and why defenses continue to defend him in man to man coverage without help over the top baffles me because that’s pretty much asking for him to take off and have a big game. What really stands out to me is how he plays the position because he isn’t the biggest guy. He’s five-foot-ten on his best days and plays as if he’s a possession receiver. He does it all. He can run the wide receiver screen, he runs the drag routes over the middle of the field, he can stretch the field from a vertical standpoint and he’s clutch. You talk about a football player with the ice in his veins, his name will normally come up and look what he did last weekend when they fought back to beat the Ravens. When Ben needed to find his go-to receiver, he answered and made a catch to put the Steelers in field goal position. They are easily a top two quarterback/receiver tandem in the NFL today, there’s no other way around it. When I think of the best all-around playmakers in the league, he’s at the top of my list. He runs his routes so smoothly, yet consistently, he catches everything, he goes up and gets the football, he doesn’t wait for the ball to come to him and he moves exceptionally well in open space.

After the heartbreaking loss yesterday to New England, the most important thing is that the Steelers get that home-field advantage. The top seed in the AFC isn’t necessarily out of reach especially if the Steelers win out and the Patriots somehow lost their final two games, but the two seed won’t be bad for them either. Let him rest and try to get back on the field so he can continue to help his team win and advance.