If you call Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown the best wideout in the NFL, it would be hard for anyone to drum up an argument against it. If the first two weeks of the 2015 NFL season, Brown has racked up 328 yards receiving and two touchdowns. If he keeps up that torrid pace, he’ll end the year with 2,624 receiving yards, which would be insanity.
His performance against the San Francisco 49ers was the epitome of what makes him so lethal as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s main weapon. His footwork in particular, a skill he hones by performing Pilates, was on full display as he gashed the Niners’ secondary for 195 yards.
On his touchdown catch, Brown used a hesitation move to split two defenders before turning sharply to his left and snaring a catch in the corner of the end zone while keeping both feet in bounds.
Brown’s 59-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter was truly a thing of beauty, demonstrating footwork unlike anything else we’ve seen this season. First, he runs down the left sideline, burns two defenders attempting to double-team him and makes the catch—and that’s not the best part. After the catch, Brown streaks back toward the middle of the field, but when he sees another defender rushing toward him from the right, he decides to change course. He stops, looking like he’s about to start running the wrong way, then spins around and runs back up the left sideline again, leaving all three defenders in the dust.
In the above screenshot, Brown looks completely trapped. But his dedication to outdside-the-box training methods like Pilates helps him maintain excellent balance and display gorgeous footwork, which allow him to make plays like this one.
(BTW, the Steelers won the game 43-18.)