Steelers coach Mike Tomlin benched the NFL’s leading receiver near the end of the 55-31 loss to the Patriots Sunday because he blew an assignment that led to an interception earlier in the game. Antonio Brown, who leads the league with 61 receptions, did not play on the final series.
“That was my decision,” Tomlin said. “We weren’t getting quality execution from an assignment standpoint. It led to an interception. I chose to remove him from the game.”
Tomlin said there would be no further consequences for Brown, who will start in his normal spot at receiver Sunday against the Bills at Heinz Field.
Mike Tomlin still has confidence in LeBeau, Brown
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin used his news conference to talk about turning frustration into improvement. The PG's Ed Bouchette puts it all in context. (Video by Andrew Rush; 11/5/2013)
Tomlin also was asked about his confidence in defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau following the worst statistical performance for a Steelers defense. The Steelers allowed a franchise-record 55 points and 610 yards.
Question: Do you still have confidence in Dick LeBeau’s ability to stop opposing offenses?
“Because he’s Dick LeBeau,” Tomlin said tersely. “Does that answer your question?”
The Steelers will welcome a couple of players back to the lineup this week after they missed time with injuries. Starting right guard David DeCastro, who missed the New England game with an ankle injury, is expected to practice Wednesday and be ready to play Sunday. Also, rookie receiver Markus Wheaton, who missed the past four games with a fractured finger, will practice Wednesday and is expected to play as well.
Several others who were injured in the Patriots game will be evaluated as the week goes on. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) will be limited early in the week. Starting cornerback Ike Taylor and starting linebacker Vince Williams, who both sustained concussions in the Patriots game, also are likely to be limited early in the week as they go through the normal NFL concussion protocol.
Three other starters suffered more minor injuries and will be limited early in week but are expected to be OK for Sunday. They include left tackle Kelvin Beachum (hip flexor), defensive end Cameron Heyward (knee contusion) and center Fernando Velasco (thigh bruise).
The Steelers did make one roster move today. They added cornerback DeMarcus VanDyke, who was with the team last season and in training camp this summer. The Steelers must release one player from the 53-man roster to make room for Van Dyke.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.