Pro bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown has famously not caught a touchdown from a quarterback other than Ben Roethlisberger. With the two-time Super Bowl champion sidelined after undergoing knee surgery, Brown couldn’t snap that streak Sunday, much in part to New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.
Butler shined in New England’s 27-16 victory at Heinz Field in Week 7. The Patriots shutdown corner limited Brown to just 5 catches on 9 targets for 94 yards.
“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible,” Butler said after the game. “You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today. … Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity. He’s one of the best, if not the best. He’s one or two. He has no flaws.”
Butler opened the game hauling in his first interception of the season, picking off a Landry Jones pass intended for Brown in the back corner of the end zone. Brown only broke past Butler once, for a 51-yard completion.
Even still, Bill Belichick praised his corner’s ability to stick with the arguably greatest receiver in the game.
“He was on (Brown) a lot the way we set it up,” Belichick said. “Look, they’ve got great players. They’re tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had.
“The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good throws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they’re good. They have a lot of good players.”
Sunday’s performance was a marked improvement from when Butler allowed Brown to record 9 catches and 133 yards in Week 1 of the 2015 season.