Antonio Brown, Steelers WR, will sit out Sunday’s game.
The Broncos tried to brush it off, but they knew the Steelers took a big blow Friday before their divisional playoff game even began. Pittsburgh ruled out star receiver Antonio Brown because of a concussion he suffered late in the fourth quarter last Saturday at Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh running back DeAngelo Williams also was ruled out because of a foot injury, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in Denver because of a shoulder injury.
Brown’s 16 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns helped the Steelers defeat the Broncos 34- 27 in Pittsburgh on Dec. 20.
“That’s unfortunate for A. B .,” Broncos corner back Aqib Talib said of Brown being unable to play.“We know Big Ben is the engine that makes it go for real, and he’s playing. So we’re going to prepare the same way.”
Brown’s athleticism and speed make him one of the NFL’s best wide receivers. That doesn’t mean the Broncos are happy hewill miss Sunday’s game.
“I was kind of upset, to be honest,” cornerback Bradley Roby said. “Just because last night I studied a lot of just him.”
Brown finished the regular season with 136 catches for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns. He gained 320 more yards than the Steelers’ next two leading receivers combined.
“They have other playmakers, but he’s one of a kind,” Broncos safety Darian Stewart said of Brown. “It’s going to be a little different, but it’s competition, so we expect their best.”
The logical replacements are Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton, the Steelers’ second- and third- leading receivers. Each finished the regular season just shy of 800 receiving yards.
Bryant had 10 catches for 87 yards in the Dec. 20 game against the Broncos. Wheaton made six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. No other Pittsburgh wide receiver was thrown to on Roe th li sb er ger’ s 55 pass attempts.
“They’ve got speed. That’s it. Speed kills,” Stewart said.“We just have to be aware of the deep ball. Stay in front and tackle.”
Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller is a reliable underneath weapon. Darius Heyward- Bey gives the Steelers another speedy deep threat, but he is inconsistent catching the ball.
Pittsburgh will be the first team since the 1979Houston Oilers that will go into a playoff game without its leading rusher ( Williams) and receiver.