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Big Ben on forcing ball to Brown: 'Who wouldn't?'


It's third-and-4. Ben Roethlisberger lines up at his own 36-yard-line with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter Sunday night at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers trail division rival Baltimore Ravens by two points.

The world knew where the football was going: Antonio Brown.

"I just trust and believe in him," Roethlisberger said of Brown after the game. "Our chemistry is something pretty special. I know some people out there say I abandon my reads and go right to A.B. It's not always true, but sometimes, who wouldn't?"

Big Ben nailed Brown with a beautiful sideline toss in stride for 34 yards, setting up a game-winning field goal by Chris Boswell.

The Ravens have seen Brown blast them before. A year ago, his "Immaculate Extension" reach across the goal-line clinched the AFC North for Pittsburgh. His play Sunday night earned Mike Tomlin's team more shirts and hats.

Brown was unstoppable, corralling 11 passes for 213 yards. His 99 receptions on the season are 11 more than DeAndre Hopkins. Brown's 1,509 receiving yards also leads Hopkins by a whopping 276.

Sunday marked Brown's fifth game this season with 150-plus receiving yards, tied for most in the Super Bowl era. Brown joined Calvin Johnson (2012) as the only players to amass 1,500-plus receiving yards in the first 13 games of a season (Johnson set the single-season record in 2012 1,964 rec yards).

Business for Brown is indeed boomin'.

A.B. is on pace for 1,857 receiving yards this season, which would be the third-most for a single season in NFL history. His pace would also make him the first player in NFL history to have multiple seasons with 1,800-plus receiving yards (1,834 receiving yards in 2015).

Brown's otherworldly play has thrust him into the MVP discussion, behind only Tom Brady at this point.

His Steelers teammates know they're watching something special:

"He's the best in the world," center Maurkice Pouncey said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"He's on a different level," guard David DeCastro said. "It looks like he's playing a video game."

"They know they're watching him, but they can't stop him," receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said. "He barely practices all week and he goes out and gets the job done. That's a true pro."

If Big Ben needs a play during next week's ginormous battle against Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, you'll know exactly where the ball is going to go.


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