Antonio Brown wasn’t Ben Roethlisberger’s target on a third down play during Sunday’s Week 4 win over the Ravens. Brown was visibly angry about it on the sideline, and Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t pleased with his top receiver’s reaction.
“I just think that this is causing a distraction that none of us really needs,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday on his radio show on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 the Fan.
Roethlisberger described the play that triggered Brown’s outburst.
“That play is designed to beat a man concept defense. A.B. kind of runs a route and then takes off deep, and it’s designed for man,” Roethlisberger said. “Well, they gave us what was the 22-man look. So there’s two high safeties, and everybody else was man underneath. So as soon as I saw that defense on the pre-snap, safety Eric Weddle ran back to kind of a two-high shelf. A.B. instantly is — I have to get off of him.”
So Roethlisberger adjusted, and ended up checking down to Le’Veon Bell. The pass was high and went incomplete, and the Steelers were forced to punt. And Brown pulled off a double move and got separation. He ended up being wide open.
“The DBs kind of got lost. They got turned around. They lost track of him,” Roethlisberger said. “So it looks really bad. It looks like I missed him, and sometimes those things happen.”
But that wasn’t what happened on this particular play. Roethlisberger read the defense and decided to work away from Brown because of the coverage.
On the sideline, Brown flipped over a cooler of Gatorade.
He also yelled at coaches, including offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
Roethlisberger said he wished Brown would have just approached him about it to ask what happened.
“That goes a lot further than throwing a temper tantrum,” Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger was also concerned about the impact Brown’s behavior might have on younger players.
“Juju’s sitting right next to him looking at that. What’s Juju thinking? Is he thinking that it’s OK to act that way? I don’t know,” Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberger said that Brown may be one of the best wideouts to ever play the game, and outbursts like this one take away from what he does on the field.
“So I don’t know that he needs to react that way,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s superhuman on the football field, and when that happens, it almost brings him back to being a mere mortal, if you will, because it just gets in his head and it just messes with all of us a little bit.”
Through four games, Brown has 30 catches for 388 yards and one touchdown.