John Brown sets career high in Cardinals loss to Steelers

Oct 18, 2015, 2:25 PM
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Cardinals receiver John Brown set a career high with 196 receiving yards Sunday, but his game against the Pittsburgh Steelers might end up being about the what ifs.

What if Brown hadn’t fumbled in the third quarter, setting the Steelers up at the Arizona 32-yard line, where behind third-string quarterback Landry Jones they would quickly score to take a 12-10 lead?

What if, in the fourth quarter with Arizona trailing 18-13, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer had seen safety Mike Mitchell bearing down on Brown, ready to intercept a pass in the end zone?

“The thing that stings the most … the play I caught the ball, I got hit, the ref ruled it a fumble,” Brown told Paul Calvisi on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “The Steelers took good advantage of that.”

Had the Steelers not taken advantage of so many things, including the plus-three turnover battle in their favor, then the Cardinals might be able to celebrate Brown’s career mark.

Instead, Arizona fell 25-13 to make his performance a bit hollow.

Nonetheless, it was an impressive showing for the second-year receiver. His 10 catches came with a 19.6-yard per reception average and despite the fumble — hard hits by James Harrison will do that to you — he gave Arizona a fighting chance in a mistake-riddled game.

It didn’t take long for Brown to make an impact. He nabbed this 45-yard catch on the Cardinals’ first possession, taking the ball right out of a defender’s hands.

Later, Brown had a 42-yard catch to set up an Arizona field goal that cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 15-13.

He also made catches of 12 and 19 yards on an eight-play, 59-yard drive as Arizona ate nearly five minutes off the clock, seemingly setting up a late score — a touchdown would have put them ahead. But the possession ended, like too many for the Cardinals on Sunday, with no points as Palmer threw his second pick of the day.

Said head coach Bruce Arians: “The ball should’ve never been there.”

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