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Antonio Brown Injury: WR's Injury Will Not Hinder Steelers' Passing Attack

Nov 4, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) turns up field after reception against New York Giants strong safety Stevie Brown (27) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Ian HanfordFeatured Columnist IVNovember 6, 2016

Antonio Brown is the Pittsburgh Steelers' best all-around receiver, but that doesn't mean the success of Pittsburgh's passing offense rests on his shoulders.

That's not just because the Steelers are playing the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night either. Pittsburgh has plenty of weapons, and injuries are nothing new to this team.

According to the Associated Press (via The Washington Post), Brown will likely miss the Steelers' game versus Kansas City. Mike Tomlin said in the report that "We’ll see where the week takes us, we’ll leave the door ajar but usually (sprained ankles) aren’t positive things, particularly for someone who earns a living the way he earns a living."

That doesn't sound optimistic, but we will see. Brown is the Steelers' leader in receptions with 42, despite only having one touchdown on the year.

He may be only 5'10'', but Brown thrives as a possession receiver. He works underneath the opposing defenses and is excellent at taking short routes and turning them into long gains. Todd Haley's screen-happy offense fits his skill set to perfection.

But that doesn't mean Pittsburgh's passing attack will come to a halt, not even close. Pittsburgh has a flurry of targets, and a quarterback who is very capable of getting the ball to everyone.

Brown's receptions lead the team, but Mike Wallace and Heath Miller have combined for 11 touchdowns this year. Wallace is seen as more of a deep, vertical threat, but he showed that he's not completely one-dimensional last week against the Giants with this 51-yard touchdown:

Miller obviously isn't the downfield threat that either Wallace or Brown is, but he couldn't be more consistent. He's Ben Roethlisberger's favorite red-zone target because of his steady hands, big frame and expert route-running ability.

And it doesn't stop with those two. Emmanuel Sanders has shown just how good he can be all over the field. He only has one touchdown on the season, but he uses his speed and shiftiness in very similar ways to Brown. That's why he took over punt-return duties after Brown left Sunday's game, and did an excellent job in his place. 

Even in a pinch, Jerricho Cotchery is more than capable of playing a short-term role. He's not explosive, but he's a reliable possession option over the middle.

The Steelers are the 10th-ranked passing attack in the NFL for a reason. A variety of weapons makes them extremely difficult to stop, and Big Ben is playing the best football of his career behind an improving offensive line.

Losing a player like Brown is never suggested, but it's far from a death sentence for this talented offense.

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