Brown stars as Steelers crush Titans
Antonio Brown scored three times in the Pittsburgh Steelers' 40-17 win over the Tennessee Titans in the NFL on Thursday.
But it was his third touchdown that will be talked about Friday and beyond.
The Steelers receiver pinned the football to his helmet while hauling in a 10-yard touchdown from Ben Roethlisberger to give the Steelers a 37-17 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game.
"Ben did a great job of giving me a great chance. I don't know how I came down with it," Brown told NBC Sports following the game. "We clicked a lot in the red zone."
The catch sealed the win for the Steelers (8-2) as Brown finished with 10 receptions for 144 yards and three scores on a night he surpassed 1,000 yards for the season. He also scored the game's first touchdown with a 41-yard strike from Roethlisberger.
While Roethlisberger was 30 of 45 for 299 yards and four touchdowns, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota tossed four interceptions. Mariota did add a passing touchdown and had a rushing score on a 22-of-33 outing that saw him throw for 306 yards.
STEELERS ARE AFC'S BEST
Though things got off to a slow start Thursday, the Steelers served notice against a fellow AFC division leader they are the best team in the AFC. The Patriots (7-2) are the defending Super Bowl champions, but even if New England beat the Raiders on Sunday, the Steelers would be the number one seed in the AFC play-off picture.
The Patriots have won four straight over the Steelers, but three of those games were in Foxborough. If the Steelers have home-field advantage, it will be tough for anyone - Patriots included - to win at Heinz Field.
TITANS KNOW WHERE THEY STAND
In what was a possible play-off preview, the Titans (6-4) now know what they must clean up to complete with the AFC elite. Mariota was picked four times, but the Titans' offense did show it could compete with the Steelers. Trailing 16-7 at half-time, the Titans got back in the game on the first play of the second half with a 75-yard pass from Mariota to Rishard Matthews, who finished with five receptions for 113 yards.
Tennessee just were not able to sustain drives because of penalties and dropped passes. The Titans' defense suffered as Pittsburgh wore them down late. But there were plenty of learning moments the Titans coaches can point out should the teams meet again in January.
THURSDAY FOOTBALL IS NOT GOOD FOOTBALL
Two playoff-calibre teams played, but it was a sloppy mess that resembled a preseason opener. The Titans and Steelers combined for 16 penalties for 126 yards. The quarterbacks were not particularly sharp and each offense struggled to get on track in the first half. Though Roethlisberger finished with 299 passing yards, he was just 10 of 24 in the first half.
Following last week's injury-laden game between the Cardinals and Seahawks, the NFLPA will likely push for the elimination of Thursday games when the collective bargaining agreement expires in 2021.