Brown was ready when needed

Antonio Brown had two catches for 17 yards when the Steelers took possession with 3:48 remaining in another classic tug-of-war with the Ravens last Saturday evening at Heinz Field, this time with the season at stake.

The rookie receiver insisted he was still ready for anything at that juncture.

"You gotta stay positive," Brown said. "You just gotta be ready for when the opportunity comes so you can take advantage. I just knew when my moment came they would be depending on me. So I had to stay focused, keep my mind in it and expect to make plays when they came."

Brown's opportunity came on third-and-19 from the Steelers' 38-yard line.

Against a three-man Baltimore rush, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dropped back into the pocket and then let it fly deep down the right sideline for Brown, who made a juggling catch before going out of bounds at the Ravens' 4-yard line just inside the two-minute warning.

Four snaps later (one that resulted in a defensive holding call against Baltimore) running back Rashard Mendenhall found the end zone from 2 yards away for what proved to be the winning touchdown in a 31-24 triumph.

"We had a 'go' route and the cornerback (Lardarius Webb) kind of sat a little bit, kind of expecting me to break," Brown said. "Ben made a great throw, stuck it right on me. Thank God I was able to come through with the catch.

"I grabbed it and it kind of stuck right on my shoulder pad. I was like, 'Ahh, just hold it in.' I think it was a great catch and a great throw. I was glad we were able to connect."

The play wasn't designed for Brown as much as it was for someone, anyone, to get deep.

"Crazy" is how Roethlisberger assessed the way the play was conceived and how it unfolded.

"We called the play and I told (offensive coordinator Bruce Arians) that even though all the outside guys are supposed to run 15-yard 'stop' routes, just try to get something, but I said, 'Let's send 'em, let's just take a shot. Who cares? Chuck it deep.'

"I'm thinking to myself, 'If they pick it, it'll be a pick way down there, just as good as a punt. Let's take a chance.' (Ravens free safety) Ed Reed lined up to the left and that's always a key, to find out where he is. Keep the safety in the middle of the field and throw it as far as I can."

The Steelers deployed wide receiver Mike Wallace wide left and wide receiver Hines Ward in the slot to the left, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in the slot on the right and Brown wide right. Running back Mewelde Moore was to the right of Roethlisberger, who was in shotgun formation.

The passive pass rush surprised Roethlisberger initially.

"Yeah, I thought they were going to come all out (on a blitz)," he said.

Once he noticed Brown flying by Webb, Roethlisberger fired without hesitation.

"He got even with the guy, and like we say, if he's even, he's leavin'," Roethlisberger said.

The 58-yard catch was the longest made by a receiver on either team.

Overall Brown's three catches added up to a game-high 75 receiving yards.

He caught all three balls that were thrown his way.

"That speaks volumes for him to be ready," Roethlisberger said. "He's only in for a handful of (plays), but he stepped up big when his number was called and he made a play."

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