When this season started, Antonio Brown was often regarded as one of the top five best wide receivers in pro football. The 2015 season would allow Brown to go out and prove just how good he was because of the corners he was due to face.
With the NFC West teams on the schedule, that meant Brown would see Patrick Peterson from the Cardinals, Janoris Jenkins from the Rams and Richard Sherman of the Seahawks. These one-on-one battles were certainly ‘must-see TV’ in my opinion but then Ben Roethlisberger went down with an injury and suddenly things changed.
Brown was forced to play the next four games with the combination of Michael Vick and Landry Jones as his quarterback. Not surprisingly, his numbers suffered.
Now with Roethlisberger back, Brown is again among the league leaders in most receiving categories. This Sunday, he’ll finally get a legitimate opportunity to play against one of those top corners when the Steelers head to Seattle. The question many of us want to know is whether Richard Sherman will be up to the task of limiting Antonio Brown.
Sherman’s game relies on physicality and the ability to get receivers off their routes. This not only messes with them but it affects the timing of the quarterback to receiver relationship. The problem Sherman will have is two-fold. He’s dealing with arguably the game’s best route-runner and a guy who can get off the line of scrimmage better than anyone.
It goes further than that though because Sherman traditionally plays on the left side so that could certainly limit the match-up opportunities. It must be said however that Sherman has actually seen time as the Seahawks’ nickel corner in 2015 too.
Where Brown may cause the most problems for Sherman may not even be of his own doing. If Steelers like Martavis Bryant, Heath Miller or Markus Wheaton start making an impact then the Seahawks will be forced to change things up. That means that using a safety over the top of the Brown-Sherman match-up may not last when the two are locked in if that’s the route the Seahawks choose.
That opens up Brown and Roethlisberger to work their magic in potential one-on-one situations.
While Sherman has not had the type of year he’s grown accustomed to in recent seasons (0 INTs/9 Passes Defended), he’s still a very good cornerback who will present AB with some challenges.
Don’t be surprised however if Brown has another big game though. He’s that good and he’s that difficult to cover.