Jaron Brown is one of the least-known members of the Arizona Cardinals’ receiving group.
Entering Sunday’s game in Seattle, he had caught just six passes for 51 yards and one touchdown, numbers that pale in comparison to the more heralded Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd.
But in Arizona’s 39-32 win at Century LinkField, it was the less-known Brown who came up big late, catching three passes for 38 yards in place of the injured Floyd. All three receptions went for first downs, and all three were instrumental in the Cardinals’ final two touchdown drives.
“Nobody stepped up bigger than Jaron Brown,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “Mike pulled a hamstring in the fourth quarter. Smokey (John Brown) was still struggling with his. Jaron came in and made some huge plays.”
Arguably the hugest of them all was his first, a 10-yard catch where he basically stole a tipped ball that seemed all but certain to be intercepted by Seattle’s Richard Sherman. Brown’s awareness on the play not only prevented disaster, but allowed Arizona to continue the drive in which it would ultimately score and regain the lead.
Cardinals QB Carson Palmer said he thought there was some contact on that play that may have warranted a penalty flag, but noted that you cannot expect to get calls like that on the road in a hostile environment.
“Jaron just came in and made plays,” he said. “He’s done that ever since he’s been here. It’s crucial to be deep, and we’re so deep, especially at the receiver position.”
Brown, in his third season out of Clemson, said there wasn’t really all that much to the play.
“I really can’t remember,” he said of what happened. “I just remember seeing it in the air. Any deflection you always want to go out there and get the ball. So, just trying to make a play for the team.”
Make a play he did. Make the play he did.
Given the precarious nature of Floyd’s hamstring injury, it’s very possible Brown will once again have a prominent role next Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. After his performance against the Seahawks, stepping up when the team needed him most, there is no lack of confidence that he’ll be able to get the job done.
“I love Jaron,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said after the game. “I mean, the guy comes in (as an) unrestricted free agent, and every year (someone is) trying to replace him, and he just fights his ass off every single day, every single way, special teams, whatever it takes to help our team out.
“Today that was the biggest play of the day, hands down. You’re going against arguably the best corner in the National Football League with the game in the balance and his desire and determination was able to help come down with that football and possess it and get a first down. That was a huge moment for us.”