Mike Tomlin expects Ben-Brown tandem to ‘smooth out’ inconsistencies

October 3, 2018

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throws with receiver Antonio Brown before playing Ravens Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018 at Heinz Field.

The disconnect between Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown continued Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens when the All-Pro wide receiver was held to five catches for 62 yards.

Brown was targeted 11 times in the game, including five times in the second half when he had just one reception for five yards. The Steelers were held scoreless after halftime while the Ravens got four field goals to pull out a 26-14 win.

“We missed some opportunities in that game no doubt, particularly on possession downs” coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “I’ve seen that tandem a lot of the years. They’ll smooth it out. They’ll find their rhythm.”

Roethlisberger and Brown are the most prolific passer-receiver tandem in Steelers history, and they rank among the best in the NFL. They have hooked up for 723 receptions, which ranks No. 4 on the all-time list, and 62 touchdowns, which is No. 11.

This year, it’s not for a lack of trying. Brown’s 53 targets rank second in the NFL. His 29 receptions, however, rank eighth. He also is averaging 9.4 yards per catch, a career low. His 272 receiving yards is No. 34.

“People spend a lot of time in the offseason looking to minimize tandems such as Ben and AB,” Tomlin said. “Over course of the journey, the cream rises. They’ll show what they are capable of. They’ve done it for a long time, and I anticipate that happening. While we continue to work to infuse some new targets into the mix ... they’ll find their rhythm and be the formidable tandem that they are.”

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