Antonio Brown picked up where he left off last season, doing Antonio Brown things against a Redskins defense that had no answers for the All-Pro receiver. Brown caught 8 passes for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Steelers’ 38-16 beatdown of Washington.
But more puzzling, Brown did most of that damage against someone OTHER THAN the highest paid cornerback in the game — new Redskin Josh Norman. The 15-million dollar a year man stayed at his left cornerback post while No. 2 Bashaud Breeland got roasted by Brown.
The numbers were staggering. In 8 targets, Brown caught 7 balls for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns against Breeland, leaving head coach Jay Gruden to explain why his team dropped 75 million on Norman but didn’t have him covering the best receiver in the game.
“I think Breeland has done such a good job in training camp, and Breeland is one of our corners. (He’s) a good corner, and he got beat by a great player today and some great passes that I don’t know what corner can defend. I’m not going to lose faith in Breeland, but there could be merit to that later on down the road.”
“But there could be merit to that later on down the road.”
Yep. That means you messed up. I’m not sure why this was that hard. You don’t need to be an NFL coach or GM or analyst to break this one down.
- You spend 75 million on a guy you think is the best CB in football.
- You play your season-opening game against the best WR in football.
- You put your good guy on their good guy and see what happens.
Frustrations in the Redskins secondary started to boil over, so much so that Norman and new safety David Bruton were seen jawing on the sidelines until DeAngelo Hall stepped in. But postgame, Norman was not taking any bait by reporters asking a pretty obvious question — and one you know Norman wanted to answer.
“No, man. Like I said, our faith is trusting coach [defensive coordinator Joe] Barry, [secondary] coach Perry Fewell,” Norman said, when asked about shadowing Brown. “That’s why the guys brought me here. Faith in me to do my job and not question one thing in the game plan.”
Well, you could probably question one thing, Josh. Gruden essentially did himself in the postgame. Especially when a Steelers offense without Le’veon Bell torched the Skins for 300 yards through the air and 435 yards after getting off to a slow start.
How badly do you think Norman wanted to go all-in. This is a dude who in August called the Commish a “Dog in a suit.” A guy who was so happy to go to Washington because, and I quote:
“In Washington, it feels like everybody can say whatever they want,” said Norman. ” It’s a free-flowing kind of place. It’s like going from a dictatorship to freedom.”
Yeah… Freedom to put the wrong corner on the best receiver in football. And last night, it looked like Breeland was that dog in the suit. But it wasn’t even his fault; because he had no business being on Antonio Brown in the first place.