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Rookie Cornerback Marlon Humphrey Excels Against Antonio Brown

Posted Dec 11, 2017

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards, but only had 37 in rookie Marlon Humphrey's direction, according to Pro Football Focus.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put up 506 yards and wide receiver Antonio Brown topped 200.

So that meant rookie cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who made his first true NFL start, had a rough night, right?


Stepping in for Jimmy Smith, who tore his Achilles last week, Humphrey stood toe-to-toe with Brown and more than held his own.

According to Pro Football Focus, the first-round pick out of Alabama gave up just six receptions for 37 passing yards. Arguably the best receiver in the NFL, Brown only caught two of the five passes thrown his way when Humphrey was in coverage. His pair of receptions totaled just 7 yards.

“He’s going to be a dog in this league,” veteran cornerback Brandon Carr said of Humphrey. “He’s fast, big, physical, strong. He has passion for the game. He’s going to be awesome.”

Humphrey’s biggest completion allowed was a 19-yarder to tight end Vance McDonald. Humphrey dropped into zone coverage and allowed the tight end to slip by him up the sideline on a well-crafted play.

Other than that, Humphrey played a near spotless game as the Steelers mostly attacked the middle of the field and hit a couple deep shots to Brown down the sideline.

Humphrey even made a savvy play on Brown in the fourth quarter while trying to shove the veteran wideout during an active play. Brown tried to elude Humphrey by pushing his head down, giving the appearance of a swing that drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.

The rookie certainly wasn’t afraid to mix it up in his first game in Heinz Field. He said in the week leading up to the game that he prefers to play on the road, where he’s booed. He fit right in in Pittsburgh.

Still, following the Ravens’ 39-38 loss, in which the defense blew a late 11-point lead, Humphrey wasn’t in the mood to pat himself on the back.

“We just have to finish the game. Defensively, we had some good plays, had some good drives, but toward the end when we needed it the most, we couldn’t get off the field on third down,” he said.

“It felt like they were doing the same thing over and over again and we just happened to be in the wrong calls in the wrong times, and a couple times we made poor decisions, player-wise. I made a couple. I kind of let the ball get into the flat; I seemed like I got out-flanked a few times.”

Humphrey also had a good game against the Steelers in their first meeting in Week 4. He allowed four catches for 56 yards and Brown caught just one of two passes that came his way for 8 yards.

“Ben’s a great quarterback,” Humphrey said. “But I felt like we left a lot of plays out there on the field.”

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