When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed wide receiver Antonio Brown in the offseason, they knew that he had the potential to make big plays as he’s done throughout his whole career.
On Sunday, that big-play ability was on full display. Brown, who became the fastest player to 900 receptions, caught seven passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including a 62-year touchdown reception as the Buccaneers defeated the Dolphins 45-17 at Raymond James Stadium.
“That is something I am very grateful for, but you know, I couldn’t do it by myself,” Brown said about being the fastest player to 900 receptions. “I’ve been able to play with some great quarterbacks – Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady. It’s a blessing to play with guys like that and be able to get the ball and be on that trajectory.”
The 33-year-old Brown(20 receptions, 325 yards, three touchdowns this season) has had his share of issues off the field, and according to Brown, those issues have made him a better person today.
“In life, we all need conflict,” Brown said. “We all need to go through things to shape our purpose and make us better. If we always sat here and didn’t go through anything, we would not appreciate life, or we wouldn’t be able to grow. I think the things I went through were able to prepare me to grow and make me a better person. I’m glad to be here today.”
Tom Brady, who threw five touchdowns passes on Sunday and developed a close bond with Brown when the two were in New England, gave Brown a lot of credit for keeping his focus on football during the tough times.
“So much, I think since the day we met – obviously I’ve admired him and watched him for a long time and obviously played with him briefly in New England, and [we] just struck up a great relationship, and [I] really wanted to see him get things,” Brady said. “Sometimes things take us away from what we really love to do in football – I think he’s done an incredible job personally of putting a lot of those things aside and just focusing on football and just showing everyone how great he is.”
The Buccaneers have many weapons on the outside in Brown, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin. According to Brady, Tampa Bay has the best wide receivers in football.
“Mike [Evans] is a great player, Chris [Godwin] is a great player, Tyler [Johnson] made some plays,” he said. ‘”So, everybody is really contributing, and it’s fun to see from my standpoint, all these different guys of different ages all kind of coming together as a group and being, I think, the best group of receivers in the league.”
Brown is playing at a fairly high level, which could be bad news for rest of the league.