Antonio Brown has no shortage of great performances through his four-year career. Even as a rookie who saw limited playing time, Brown managed to make his presence felt on the Pittsburgh Steelers' run to Super Bowl XLV.
Brown has a number of impressive feats on his still-growing resume. The two-time team MVP became the first player to accrue 1,000 yards both returning and receiving in 2011.
This past season was unquestionably Brown’s best. With at least five receptions and 50 yards in all 16 games, he was the model of consistency.
But, of course, he had a few standout performances on the way to garnering second-team All-Pro honors.
Unsurprisingly, Brown’s best single-game performance came in his best season to date. But which game was it?
In 2013, Brown had five 100-yard games and three with multiple touchdowns (one being a punt return TD against Cincinnati). But the best of those games that meet both criteria actually came in a loss.
The 0-2 Steelers entered their prime-time contest against the Chicago Bears in desperate need of a win. A performance marred by five turnovers would see them fall well short, but it’s tough to dispute that Brown did everything he could to lead his club to victory.
Brown set a career high with 196 receiving yards and tied another with two scores.
Both scores proved absolutely crucial for a Steelers team that fell behind 17-0 at the conclusion of an ugly opening quarter for the home team.
Even before Brown found the end zone, he was helping his team cut into Chicago’s lead. Early in the second quarter Brown hauled in a 45-yard catch on third down to set up a Shaun Suisham field goal.
A Ben Roethlisberger pick-six shortly after seemed to signify the game had ceased to be competitive, but Brown refused to adhere to that line of thinking.
On the Steelers’ ensuing possession, Brown leaped above two defenders to snare a 33-yard bullet from Roethlisberger and score his first TD of the evening. Unbelievably, it would prove to be the less memorable of the two.
Facing a two-score deficit with the third quarter winding down, the Steelers were in dire need of something spectacular. Once again, Brown answered the bell.
Roethlisberger took a shot in the back of the end zone where only Brown had a chance to grab it. A chance is truly all it was.
Somehow, Brown manages to spot, track and secure the ball on the way to the turf. All the while, he makes sure that his left foot touches down before his knee goes out of bounds.
Unfortunately, Brown’s stellar effort would prove to be for naught. Two more Pittsburgh turnovers and two more Chicago scores would serve as the proverbial nail in the coffin.
Brown would assuredly prefer to excel in a winning effort than a losing one, but it’s tough to see his Steelers losing many games in which he performs as well as he did in this one.
With Brown's career arc steadily moving up, fans should be on the lookout for a game that usurps this one as his best in the seasons to come.