Oakland Raiders @ Steelers: Five Keys to Victory

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Nov 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) celebrates a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

4. Don’t Let Antonio Brown Beat You

Antonio Brown is widely regarded as one of the best wideouts in the league, and for good reason. Though somewhat undersized, he has almost no flaws in his game and can put up huge numbers. With or without Ben Roethelisburger on the field, Antonio Brown has been almost unstoppable through the first half of the season, compiling 52 receptions for over 700 yards and three scores. With LeVeon Bell gone, Brown is far and away the Steelers’ most important and most dangerous weapon. And he cannot be allowed to take over the game. 

Brown will likely be matched up against DJ Hayden for much of the game, which is certainly a frightening proposition for Raider fans. But Hayden has been capable over the last two weeks: he’s given up receptions but very few big ones, and he’s done a better job at tackling after the catch to limit YAC. He also came up with a huge pick two weeks ago against San Diego, his first of the season and the third of his three-year NFL career.

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James Harrison reacts to Antonio Brown claims in the only way he could
James Harrison reacts to Antonio Brown claims in the only way he could /


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  • Look for Charles Woodson (or TJ Carrie in his safety role) to line up frequently over the top of Brown deep to keep him from damaging the Raiders down the field. The Steelers will likely be content to use him on underneath routes early on, but the Raider defense has shown consistently so far this year that they will give up the dink and dunk underneath stuff but are still quite stingy once you get close to the end zone.

    Limiting the deep routes by using safety help and then playing the receiver on shorter routes – to ensure the tackle is made – is the way to contain a dangerous receiver like Antonio Brown. He might have 7 or 8 receptions, but if he never manages a big deep catch or a huge catch and run, he won’t beat the Raiders. If he can be kept contained, the Steelers will have to find someone else to generate those explosive plays that he and Bell are known for, and they may not have the guys.