Other receivers must step their game up for Big Ben, Steelers (Mike Pelaia's Column Sept. 20)

COURIER PHOTOGRAPHER BRIAN COOK captures Antonio Brown celebrating with Martavis Bryant, after Bryant’s touchdown reception against the Vikings, Sept. 17 at Heinz Field.

The Steelers find themselves 2-0 after two weeks with a game in Chicago on the horizon. One would think they will leave the Windy City 3-0, barring an absolutely catastrophic day by all units.
Yet through two weeks, the offense, despite winning their last game by 17 points, hasn’t been impressive. Ben Roethlisberger, while sharp, completing 66 percent of his passes for 506 yards and four touchdowns and one interception, hasn’t shown a lot of trust in his receivers yet, aside from Antonio Brown, of course.
It’s hard to blame Ben after that disastrous display by the receiving unit in the AFC Championship game this past January. Who can forget all of the drops and misplays by the guys that were running around out there not named Brown. Obviously, Ben hasn’t.
In 2017 Ben has thrown the ball 70 times, 22 of those attempts have been to Brown, or 31 percent of the balls thrown, nearly a third of all of his attempts go Brown’s way. On one hand, it’s hard to argue throwing the ball to Brown that often; he is, after all, the best receiver in football and he and Ben have an obvious connection that is hard to find with even the most perfect of pairings. The production is there and through two weeks the record is there as well.
Yet, it’s an easy way to become one dimensional, a way for the defense to know what you’re doing nearly a third of the passing plays and this time, it needs to be different. This isn’t the AFC Championship game, Cobi Hamilton and Sammie Coates aren’t out there anymore. Instead, I believe you have a second number one receiver in Martavis Bryant who is just as fast, if not faster than Brown. He’s bigger than Brown, he’s got hands probably as good as Brown, and the best part is, he forces teams from doubling Brown…if you get him the ball.


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