View Full Version : On the lookout: Steelers WR Antonio Brown vs. Bengals CB Kelly Jennings

12-04-2011, 07:53 AM
On the lookout: Steelers WR Antonio Brown vs. Bengals CB Kelly Jennings
Sunday, December 04, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

After catching at least one pass of 40 yards or longer in six consecutive games, wide receiver Mike Wallace's splash plays have dried up. At least for now.

In the past four games, he is averaging just 11 yards per catch and doesn't have a catch longer than 25 yards

Defenses who have watched Wallace race past cornerbacks for deep catches and split safeties after short catches are determined to keep him from beating them with game-changing plays.

"He is demanding a little more double coverage," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said. "But Antonio is taking some of that pressure off him."

Indeed, in the past five games, second-year wide receiver Antonio Brown has been the team's leading receiver and become a favorite target for Ben Roethlisberger.

With so much attention being heaped on Wallace, Roethlisberger has turned his attention to Brown, especially in crucial third-down situations.

Brown has been targeted 46 times in the past five games, 10 more than Wallace. He has 30 catches for 445 yards in those games, a 14.5-yard average. Wallace has 22 catches, including only two for 17 yards in Kansas City. His longest catch in the past five games is 25 yards.

In the first meeting with the Cincinnati Bengals, his longest catch was 13 yards.

"I like to tell him to let the big games come to him," Roethlisberger said of Wallace. "Those 100-yard games, they're going to come. All it takes is one big one that he can have at any time during a game to get over 100."

Heading into today's rematch with the Bengals, Brown leads all AFC receivers with 308 yards receiving and a 15.4-yard average on third down, a number that was inflated against the Chiefs when he converted two third downs with catches of 17 and 9 yards.

But Brown has become more than just a third-down receiver in the Steelers offense. He started in place of a healthy Hines Ward in the first meeting at Paul Brown Stadium and caught five passes for 87 yards, including four on the field-goal drive at the end of the first half.

And, even though he didn't start against the Chiefs, he played mostly as the No. 2 receiver, finishing with four catches for a team-high 81 yards.

"It's just being precise, being on timing with Ben and getting to areas and spots where I can move the chains," Brown said. "That's what it's about."

With the loss of cornerback Leon Hall to a season-ending Achilles tendon injury -- it happened in the second quarter of the first meeting Nov. 13 -- the Bengals have inserted Adam "Pac Man" Jones as the starter at right cornerback. But when the Bengals use their sub packages, nickel back Kelly Jennings moves outside and left cornerback Nate Clements goes into the slot.

That means Jennings or Jones will be matched against Brown in most third-down situations.

"Whoever shows up, I'm looking for them," Brown said.

Just like Roethlisberger has been looking for him.
Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com and Twitter @gerrydulac.

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