WR John Brown - Arizona Cardinals
|5-10, 179||Born: 4-3-1990||College: Pittsburg State||Drafted: Round 3|
2017 Week 1 vs DET (9 / 4 / 32 / 0 rec, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
The majority of Brown's success on Sunday came during the 2-minute drill before the first half. During that drive Brown was effective utilizing his speed to gain separation on dig and out routes. Unfortunately, that same speed never translated to any deep balls, whether due to Brown's lingering hamstring injury or simply the Lions defensive game plan. Without the deep ball, Brown is still an effective offensive weapon, but far less an overall threat. Protection issues undoubtedly forced quicker reads and throws, further contributing to Brown's struggles. Whether these are one-week or season-long offensive issues remains the million-dollar question.
2017 Week 4 vs SF (7 / 3 / 47 / 0 rec)
Brown was back for the first time since Week 1, and his ability to stretch the field made a considerable difference for the offense. Brown's numbers were not staggering, but he drew multiple pass interference penalties and stretched the defense allowing Ellington to successfully work underneath. Brown came close to winning the game on a tipped ball in the end zone that he appeared to get both feet in bounds, but the officials ruled otherwise. Whether Brown can stay healthy and for how long remains uncertain, but importance to the offense is clear.
2017 Week 6 vs TB (4 / 3 / 63 / 1 rec)
Brown was not regularly targeted throughout Sunday's game, a byproduct of both an effective run game and Fitzgerald's incredible performance, but was able to make the most of his few opportunities. That has been rare for Brown, the ability to capitalize on minimal opportunities, and hopefully an encouraging sign moving forward as this offense seeks some semblance of balance and sustained success. Brown's fourth quarter catch-and-run may have been his longest play of the game, but his third quarter touchdown catch displayed something sorely missing from this team all season long; the wide receiving corps' ability to make plays against single coverage. In this instance, Palmer simply heaved the ball up to a streaking Brown who was forced to stop and adjust his route to make a play on the ball. Brown, and the team as a whole, have struggled greatly in this situations throughout most of the season, so it was a refreshing sign to see this one end in success.
2017 Week 9 vs SF (4 / 1 / 52 / 0 rec)
Brown opened the game with an excellent 52-yard catch, with a quick double-move providing the necessary separation to get behind his defender. Unfortunately that was the last catch Brown would have Sunday, with his three other targets all failing to convert.
2017 Week 10 vs SEA (6 / 2 / 27 / 0 rec)
Brown was an utter non-factor in the game, but by default of playing on such an unproductive receiving corps, managed to earn the group's second-most targets. As has been the case all season, Brown failed to do anything with those opportunities. The failures were not all on Brown; Stanton was never really close on any of his deep balls which Brown was often the target for, but the once game-changing threat is nothing more than an afterthought at this point.
2017 Week 11 vs HOU (6 / 3 / 18 / 0 rec)
Brown's performance on Sunday hardly warrants mention, but as the second most targeted receiver, his involvement came by default. Brown was an utter non-factor, amassing 18 total yards, showing none of his trademark speed that has eluded him for so long, or the hands necessary to be a team's number two receiver.
2016 Week 1 vs NE (4 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
Brown was such a nonfactor in Sunday night's game that you could forgive casual observers for wondering if he even suited up. After missing almost all of training camp and the preseason with the aftereffects of a concussion early in camp, it is fair to wonder if Brown is 100% healthy. Likely, however, this was just another example in a long list of instances where Belichick identified a team's strength and game planned to take it away. If the problems persist for Brown, speculation about his health will pick up steam, but for the time being, this seems like something you have to give the defense credit for and hope Arians and company can find better ways to get Brown involved.
2016 Week 2 vs TB (3 / 1 / 14 / 0 rec)
If Floyd was a nonfactor on Sunday, it is fair to even wonder if John Brown suited up. For the second week in a row, "Smoke" has failed to contribute to the offense in even a slightly meaningful way. The same schematic factors that are limiting Floyd's deep-ball ability are undoubtedly affecting Brown as well, but it is fair to wonder if the concussion he suffered early in training camp that kept him out through the vast majority of the preseason is a factor as well. Brown's speed makes him a potential game-changer every week, but he has been so uninvolved in the offense at this early point in the season, it would be hard not to look for better fantasy options for the time being.
2016 Week 3 vs BUF (11 / 6 / 70 / 0 rec)
Unimpressive as it was, Sunday was John Brown's best game of the season. After missing the majority of training camp and the preseason, it isn't entirely surprising to see that Brown needed a few games to round back into form. Those are certainly positive signs going forward, and coming off this performance the Cardinals need as many of those as they can find, and yet Brown still did not play particularly well. Miscommunication with Palmer led to one of the many late game interceptions, an offensive pass-interference call negated a first down and Brown failed to contribute as a downfield threat in any meaningful way. Things do appear to be trending upward for John Brown, and Sunday he may have been a victim of the Cardinals disjointed offense as much as he contributed to it, so hopefully it will be sooner than later that we'll see the exciting, dynamic receiver of the last few years.
2016 Week 4 vs LA (16 / 10 / 144 / 0 rec)
The single bright spot out of a home loss which significantly hampers your postseason odds, was the return of John Brown. Brown looked like his old self, healthy, well conditioned, and integrated in the offense's game plan. Brown was single covered the majority of the afternoon and he took advantage of it to the tune of ten receptions on a team high 16 targets. Brown was not able to make any big plays deep, but utilized his speed excellently in and out of breaks to dominate the short and intermediate areas. With the coaching staff's trust in Floyd at an all time low, Brown's targets and opportunities should only continue to increase over the next few weeks. The only question for fantasy owners will be who is throwing him the ball.
2016 Week 5 vs SF (4 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)
While there is no way around the conclusion that John Brown was entirely uninvolved with the offense on Thursday, possibly calling into question his progress from the week before, the context surrounding Thursday Night's game may illustrate another picture. Brown has always been a favorite of Palmer, and the connection between the two has been well documented. He has always been better involved in the offense when it is consistently targeting chunk-plays, something Palmer does more often and better than Stanton does. He also was used as the second wide receiver in two-receiver sets far more often than Michael Floyd, increasing his snap-count, a trend that has continued as the season has progressed. He is a difficult fantasy evaluation at this stage of the season, but for those who felt increased optimism after Brown's week four outputs, those feeling should remain whenever Palmer does return.
2016 Week 6 vs NYJ (7 / 5 / 54 / 0 rec)
It has been an up and down season for Brown, but Monday night was a very positive sign. Unable to get deep all evening, the Cardinals made an adjustment going into the second half and began running play-action passes Brown's way. Knowing the Jets were concerned with the deep-ball, Brown did a tremendous job running his defender deep, then breaking back for an intermediate gain. An impressive display of an offense understanding what the defense is giving them, and a receiver utilizing his abilities to exploit it.
2016 Week 8 vs CAR (4 / 4 / 49 / 1 rec)
After missing last week's game with Sickle-Cell trait issues, Brown was back this week against Carolina and played rather effectively in limited snaps. Brown played just over 50% of the team's offensive snaps, but managed to haul in all four of his targets, pick up chunks and score a touchdown in the process. The hope is the bye week will allow the team's doctors and Brown to find an appropriate treatment course allowing Brown to play a full-game worth of snaps, as this team desperately needs all its weapon's playing at 100% if righting this offense that still remains so far off course.
2016 Week 10 vs SF (4 / 2 / 30 / 0 rec, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
It has been a tough year for Brown, dealing with concussion-symptoms that slowed him down early in the season and a sickle-cell issue that has hampered him of late. Brown claims to be back to 100%, but is still struggling to integrate back into the offense. J.J Nelson was the recipient of all of Palmer's deep targets Sunday, and was the least-targeted receiver on Sunday (including RB David Johnson and TE Jermaine Gresham). Between Brown's health and role in the offense, it is increasingly difficult to expect a true second-half breakout for Brown, but this offense will undoubtedly lean on him at some point this season. It is simply a mystery if Brown will be ready.
2016 Week 11 vs MIN (4 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
After declaring himself fully recovered from a sickle-cell issues, Brown again struggled to leave any positive mark on the game, and instead playing poorly for stretches and downright disappearing during others. Brown's biggest blunder of the afternoon came late in the second quarter, when an incorrectly run route (not to mention an uncalled defensive holding penalty) led to Palmer's first interception, which was then returned 100-yards for a Minnesota touchdown. Considering the final margin of defeat, the point swing that play alone resulted in can easily be singled out for its significance in the overall outcome. It has been a bit of a plagued season for Brown, with the concussion and sickle-cell issues hampering his health for much of the year. As pessimistic as it sounds, at this point it seems the best case scenario for the remainder of Brown's season is to stack small successes and build momentum for next year.
2016 Week 12 vs ATL (2 / 1 / 19 / 0 rec)
Brown left the game late in the second quarter due to a hamstring injury and did not return for the second half. Whether related to his sickle-cell issues or not, Brown has simply not been healthy enough this season to make any mark on the field.
2016 Week 15 vs NO (6 / 5 / 81 / 1 rec)
It is difficult to play armchair doctor with regards to Brown's health this year, but Sunday was as healthy and fast as he has looked all season long. Whether that means he has truly learned to manage his sickle-cell issue or just had a good day against a struggling secondary remains to be seen, but Sunday was much more the John Brown we have become accustomed to the last two years. Brown got behind the Saints secondary several times on Sunday, even scoring on a 30-yard bomb late in the 4th quarter, while also catching five of the six balls thrown his way. The offense has sorely missed Brown's speed this season, and the hope has to be that between now and the start of next season, Brown can put his health and injury issues behind him and play much closer to what he showed his first two years in the league. That alone will provide a significant improvement to the 2017 offensive outlook.
2016 Week 16 vs SEA (2 / 1 / 12 / 0 rec)
Brown was only targeted twice on Saturday, catching one pass. Brown's lack of involvement appeared more a function of the offense's game plan, minimizing downfield targets and taking advantage of J.J. Nelson's speed, than his health issues, a hopefully encouraging sign moving forward.
2015 Week 1 vs NO (7 / 4 / 46 / 1 rec)
Brown's game yesterday was a microcosm of his 2014 season. He started scorching hot before becoming a bit of an afterthought later in the game. Brown dominated the opening series of the game, collecting 32 of his 46 yards and capping off the drive with a touchdown reception. The touchdown came after the play broke down, with Brown following Palmer as he scrambled out right, losing his man in the process to present a wide-open target near the right pylon for Palmer to easily find. While he still struggled when being pressed at the snap, he did appear to be running a bit more of the route tree than in his rookie season. The speedster remains a favorite of Palmer and should continue to be a consistent fantasy option throughout the year.
2015 Week 2 vs CHI (5 / 5 / 45 / 0 rec)
Brown's box score numbers were nothing to write home about on Sunday, but a deeper examination shows another quality game for the second year receiver. While Brown barely eclipsed 40 receiving yards on the day, he accounted for another 80-yards in pass interference penalties, setting up touchdowns to Jaron Brown and Larry Fitzgerald. With two of John Brown's five receptions converting important 3rd downs, the numbers beyond the box score indicate another impressive effort.
2015 Week 3 vs SF (5 / 3 / 62 / 0 rec)
For the second consecutive week, Brown's stat-line was unimpressive at best, but unlike last week against the Bears, it could not be buoyed by nearly 100-yards in pass interference penalties drawn. Furthermore, Brown dropped a perfectly thrown ball in the end zone from Palmer, having it hit off his chest and go right through his arms. With that said, Brown's speed alone remains an incredible decoy for the passing game. His ability to take the top off the defense and force a safety over to cover him on deep routes directly results in single-coverage for Fitzgerald at the intermediate level that he has been feasting on all season. Had he caught the touchdown, it would have been another solid statistical game for Brown, so this one can likely be chalked up to as more of a blip than a downward trend.
2015 Week 4 vs LA (10 / 7 / 75 / 0 rec, 1 / 13 / 0 rush)
Brown played a very solid game on Sunday, leading the team in targets and receptions while showing off his explosive speed and even adding a little to the run-game with a jet-sweep that went for nearly 15 yards. What Brown has failed to do since week-1 against the Saints is find the end zone. This is not all on Brown, as Palmer has underthrown him on deep throws in the end zone multiple times this season. Against the Bears in week-2 this resulted in pass interference penalties that led to touchdowns. Sunday, however, this led to a costly interception. Palmer continues to show great faith in the second-year player, and Brown did a nice job staying engaged in the game for all four quarters on Sunday, but until the touchdowns start coming more consistently, Brown remains a fantasy wildcard; you just do not know exactly what you are going to get.
2015 Week 5 vs DET (4 / 4 / 73 / 1 rec)
Brown was perfect on the day, catching all four of his targets, including a touchdown and the Cardinals longest passing play of the game. On the 49-yard play, Brown impressively uses no jukes or stutter-steps at the line, just simply uses his straight-line speed to run past his defender. The touchdown, on a play similar to Brown's score against the 49ers last season, Brown lined up in the at the top of a stack formation to the left of Palmer, quickly beat his defender before running a post inside in front of the safety. It is worth noting that Brown once again continued his excellent touchdown celebration dances, although this time was flagged for it.
2015 Week 6 vs PIT (14 / 10 / 196 / 0 rec)
Brown had a career day on Sunday, wracking up 196 yards with an absurd 19.6 yards per catch average. Brown was targeted 14 times on Sunday and seemed to be playing at a different speed than the majority of the Pittsburgh defense. He also drew a 30-yard pass interference penalty that was nullified by a holding call at the line. Brown's lone mistake of the afternoon, fumbling the ball after a huge hit from James Harrison, proved costly as the Steelers were able to convert the turnover into a touchdown, giving Pittsburgh its first lead in the game.
2015 Week 7 vs BAL (6 / 4 / 65 / 1 rec)
Brown remained a question mark all the way up to game-time with a strained hamstring, but showed no real signs of the injury while leading the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards, while also collecting another touchdown and being on the receiving end of Palmer's longest throw of the game. In other words, Monday night was another example of the dynamic player Brown has proven himself to be in short career. While Brown's speed is well known, his ball skills are what has become arguably his most impressive attribute. Brown's route adjustments with the ball in air, not to mention his far-better-than-advertised hands has been as important to his downfield success as his blazing speed, allowing Palmer to take more risks deep to Brown, even throwing 50-50 balls to the diminutive receiver. With a short week or rest and a cross-country flight, fantasy owners would be wise to monitor Brown's hamstring throughout the week, but with the bye week just around the bend, it is hard to imagine Brown missing such an important game.
2015 Week 10 vs SEA (3 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Brown failed to register a catch on either of his two targets on the evening. While Seattle's defense scheme likely eliminated many of Brown's deep routes, it seems despite sitting out the last two weeks (at Cleveland and then the bye week,) Brown's hamstring is still an issue. The Cardinals have great depth at the wide receiver position, but with Michael Floyd also possibly dealing with a hamstring injury, it is important for Brown to get healthy soon.
2015 Week 11 vs CIN (3 / 3 / 43 / 1 rec, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)
Struggling with a hamstring injury of his own, John Brown sounded downright dejected heading into Sunday Night's game, but fought through the pain to score an important touchdown and reclaim his title as the team's best celebratory dancer. Brown was only targeted 3 times Sunday night, in addition to running two sweeps, both a function of his injury and the coverage Cincinnati played. Brown's touchdown, an 18-yard skinny post, featured very subtle, but impressive footwork, setting up his defender for what appeared to be an outside move, before breaking back inside for an easy score after a great pass from Palmer. It is hard to imagine Brown's hamstrings truly healing up as the season continues, robbing him of some of his game-changing speed, but if even in a limited role Brown provides so much for this offense.
2015 Week 12 vs SF (7 / 5 / 99 / 0 rec)
Finally near 100% health, after spending seemingly half the season struggling with a hamstring strain, John Brown looked explosive again on Sunday, an important sign for the offense going forward. Brown was targeted multiple times deep, finally connecting early in the second half for a 48-yard bomb, the Cardinals longest lay of the afternoon. Brown led the team in receiving yards, falling just shy of the arbitrary 100-yard mark on the afternoon, but outside of his big gain, collected the rest in a fairly pedestrian manner. This, again, was mostly a function of an offensive unit as a whole struggling, and not something specific from Brown. With Brown as healthy as he has been for several weeks now, and Michael Floyd slowly rounding back into form, the Cardinals explosive passing game should be able to take flight again soon, with Sunday being more of a hiccup than anything else.
2015 Week 13 vs LA (8 / 6 / 113 / 0 rec)
For any still uncertain about Brown's hamstrings and overall health must have found the fourth quarter of Sunday's game a welcome relief. After spending nearly the entire game making important, albeit un-explosive catches, Brown found himself mismatched with a Safety midway through the 4th quarter and did exactly what you would expect John Brown to do in that scenario; run right by the guy. Stacked together with Fitzgerald on Palmer's right, the formation allowed Brown a clean release off the line and that proved too much. Brown flew past his defender and a perfectly placed pass from Palmer hit Brown in stride. Brown failed to find his way into the end zone, but 68-yards later the Cardinals went from deep inside their own territory to the Rams red zone in a flash. With the Cardinals banged up at the running back position, the health of the remaining offensive weapons will be vital to their success, and Brown looking as close to 100% as we have seen in a while was a welcome site.
2015 Week 14 vs MIN (5 / 4 / 78 / 1 rec)
After weeks of dealing with hamstring issues, a fully healthy John Brown has gone back to his playmaking ways, using his incredible speed to make his mark on a game in a single play. On Thursday, Brown did just that to provide the Cardinals with their first touchdown of the evening. Lined up in the slot to Palmer's right, with the team at their own 35-yard line, Brown sold his route as a deep-in towards the middle of the field but after a jab-step inside, broke his route to the sideline for a deep-out route. In that process, Brown managed to shake free of his defender leaving him wide open for Palmer to find with ease, despite a broken down pocket. Much like on Floyd's touchdown, Brown had his own end zone escort in the form of fellow speedster J.J Nelson. As Brown scampered down the sideline, Nelson provided the necessary downfield blocking to free Brown from both of the Vikings would-be tacklers, giving Brown a clear path into the end zone. Brown accumulated over 83% of his yards in the game on that one 65-yard touchdown play.
2015 Week 15 vs PHI (9 / 3 / 38 / 1 rec)
John Brown was a mess on Sunday, playing quite possibly the worst game of his young career. Brown dropped two early touchdowns, one on the opening play of the game on a play eerily reminiscent of his infamous game-winning touchdown against these same Eagles last season. Brown still ended up leading the team in targets, a sign of both Palmer's faith in his speedy wide receiver, as well as the Eagles inability to guard him all night, but never quite got on track, dropping another pass on what should have been a long gain after a perfect pass from Palmer. Still, when the team needed Brown to step up and make a big play he came through, shaking a defender to score a touchdown on what should have been a short first-down gain. Brown has proven himself to be as sure-handed a receiver as anyone on this team not named Fitzgerald, so expect Sunday night's performance to be more an aberration than anything else going forward. Clearly, based on the targets, Palmer believes that to be true.
2015 Week 16 vs GB (4 / 3 / 25 / 1 rec)
Much of what was written for Fitzgerald could be applied Brown, who had a touchdown reception for the second consecutive week, but remained quiet apart from that. This week, however, it was not a case of the drops that plagued Brown, but instead a lack of targets. There simply was not a need to test the defense deep very often on Sunday. Palmer did miss Brown on what would have been a touchdown, his only other bad miss outside of the interception, and that surely would have changed the perception of Brown's game, but instead his 7-yard touchdown late in the first half ended up being his only real highlight of the game. Like Fitzgerald, the touchdown came on a 3rd down inside the red-zone, important conversions for a team that has been up and down all season in its red-zone efficiency.
2015 Week 17 vs SEA (11 / 4 / 45 / 0 rec)
Brown entered the week 17 game 42 yards shy of 1,000 for the season, so his 45-yard game was arguably the only positive to come from the loss. Drops, once again plagued Brown, an issue that seemingly has sprung out of nowhere the last few weeks of this season. Two games out of a two-season career does not indicate a trend, but is also something that cannot happen come playoff time where the importance of every possession is greatly amplified. Brown has not really broken loose since the emergence of Michael Floyd, but will be counted on heavily come playoff time and must put forth a better showing.
2015 Week 20 vs CAR (8 / 2 / 23 / 0 rec)
Every element of the passing game, from protection to Palmer to the pass catchers themselves was ineffective on Sunday, and Brown was no exception. Three of Palmer's interceptions came when targeting Brown, making that one more than the number of Brown's receptions. For the second season in a row, Brown faded towards the end, once again calling into question whether his small frame is equipped to handle an NFL season, but on a night when every element of the offense faltered, it is pointless to pin too much blame on Brown.
2014 Week 1 vs SD (5 / 2 / 29 / 1 rec)
Brown looked like a rookie often and early in the game. He dropped what should have been a third down conversion and ran the wrong route on a hot-read. He finished the game with only two catches on his five targets, but those catches showed exactly why The Cardinals are so excited about this kid. His first catch was a beautiful sideline grab, dragging his feet after gaining separation from fellow rookie Jason Verrett, and his go-ahead touchdown late in the forth on a 13-yard screen featured the quickness, speed vision coaches have raved about. With some excellent blocking from TE John Carlson, LT Jared Veldheer and RG Paul Fanaika to lead the way, Brown both juked defenders and stayed patient while his blockers set up in front of him. Brown struggled with early game jitters and drops throughout preseason, and that carried over some into last night's contest, but as the season goes on and that begins to settle, big games are on the horizon for John Brown.
2014 Week 2 vs NYG (4 / 3 / 28 / 0 rec, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Brown too was mostly a nonfactor on Sunday, though was slightly more productive than Floyd. Brown's best play came early in the 2nd quarter when his 20-yard reception helped convert a 3rd down to get The Cardinals out of the shadow of their own end zone. Ultimately, the drive stalled out like the majority of their others, but the play was vital in flipping field position. After two weeks it's probably best to temper some of the initial excitement surrounding Brown, but again the caveat of playing with the backup quarterback must be considered when judging performance here.
2014 Week 3 vs SF (6 / 4 / 52 / 2 rec)
In postgame quotes from both Brown and Stanton, it was made clear that featuring Brown significantly was a big part of the team's game plan and that certainly came to fruition with two second-half touchdowns. Brown's first touchdown reception came on a 3-reciever set with all 3 receivers bunched on the left side. Brown started as the outside receiver, motioned inside of both Fitzgerald and Floyd before running a straight diagonal route to the back-right pylon of the end zone. The pocket held beautifully and Stanton delivered a perfect strike to Brown who had easily beaten his defender. Browns second touchdown, a 21-yard reception, came on a simple streak up the hash mark, a play we see the more athletic TEs a la Jimmy Graham, make every week. Stanton pump-faked very nicely on the play to hold the safety and Brown had his man beat by three steps for an easy score.
2014 Week 5 vs DEN (7 / 2 / 4 / 0 rec)
Brown struggled mightily on Sunday with a bad drop on what could have been a crucial third down conversion in the second quarter, and wasn't able to make a play on what would have been a long touchdown grab. Immediately following the punt after Brown's 3rd down drop, the Broncos scored on an 80+ yard touchdown pass, making the momentum shift all the more significant.
2014 Week 6 vs WAS (6 / 4 / 43 / 0 rec)
Brown has established himself nicely as the third wide receiver in this offense, and despite not finding the end zone had arguably the biggest catch of the game to convert a crucial third down to set up a second-half field goal. Brown also did not show any of the early game jitters he's struggled with at times this year, hopefully a positive indication going forward. With Fitzgerald, Floyd and even Ellington ahead of Brown in the pecking order, his big games will be few and far between, but Brown's settled nicely into the offense and in short order has already established himself as the best #3 WR the team has had since Steve Breaston's 1000 yard season.
2014 Week 7 vs OAK (5 / 2 / 41 / 0 rec, 1 / -5 / 0 rush)
Brown tied Fitzgerald for most targets among the wide receivers, but still ended up with only marginally better numbers. Brown also was the victim of a bad non-call on what should have been a long pass interference penalty, but in the end it was another quiet week for the rookie. As of now Brown's fantasy value remains entirely dependent on him finding the end zone, which he hasn't been able to do since week 3.
2014 Week 8 vs PHI (10 / 5 / 119 / 1 rec)
The Cardinals have been talking up John Brown since the day they drafted him. They spoke about him in preseason much the same way they did with Tyrann Mathieu the year before. Carson Palmer made sure Brown's locker was right next to his, and not with the other wide receivers, because the quarterback wanted to constantly be in Brown's ear, knowing just how much potential the rookie had to offer. Sunday was not the first showing of Brown's ability, but it was the biggest exclamation point. A microcosm of the offense as a whole, Brown's day was mostly pedestrian save for his one big play. The one big play. What makes Brown so special is his ability to not have to decelerate in and out of his breaks. It allows him to gain separation on contested routes, and as was the case Sunday, allows him to blow past defenders who are specifically playing to prevent deep plays. Brown's ability to fake the curl route for a first down and instead accelerate past two defenders was nothing short of remarkable. The concentration necessary to switch shoulders, haul in the catch and maintain his balance to sprint the rest of the way to the end zone was incredible. Great players make great plays, and John Brown looks like he's going to be a great player in this league.
2014 Week 9 vs DAL (5 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec, 1 / -3 / 0 rush)
After announcing himself to the entire football-watching world last Sunday, Brown had his worst game as a rookie. Brown had a bad drop on what should have been a crucial first down conversion, and was simply a non-factor the rest of the day. With touchdown passes going to the tight end and 5th wide receiver, its no surprise none of the Cardinals talented trio went scoreless, but it's becoming increasingly difficult for fantasy owners to plan on production either.
2014 Week 10 vs STL (9 / 5 / 73 / 1 rec)
For such a small guy, John Brown sure does like the big moment. 4 of Brown's 5 touchdowns this season were go-ahead/game-winning scores. Two of them were 45-yards or longer. It's fair to call John Brown one of the most electrifying players in the entire league. Sunday's game winning score highlighted all of Brown's best attributes; his top-end speed, ability to maintain that speed in and out of breaks, and his excellent ball skills. On the touchdown play, the Cardinals were in a 3-WR set, with Brown to the left of Stanton, and outside of Fitzgerald in the slot. Brown immediately began his route to the inside with a sprint towards the seam, a quick step to his left faking the corner-route opened up his defender just enough for Brown to straighten his route back out and sprint past both his defender as well as the safety coming over the top to help. The ball was nearly overthrown and placed on his back shoulder, but Brown made a fantastic adjustment and an incredible diving catch for the score. Credit of course must be given to Stanton too, who avoided pressure and climbed the pocket to deliver a difficult throw, but Brown was the star of the play.
2014 Week 11 vs DET (9 / 5 / 69 / 0 rec)
Brown led all receivers with 9 targets on Sunday, equaling Floyd and Fitzgerald's combined looks. While Brown also led the team in receiving yards, that was more a function of the targets than the big play's he's become known for in his short career. Brown did convert 3 of the team's 8 3rd down conversions, so he while his play this week won't result in any new Sports Illustrated covers, it was still vital to the win. And the good news for Brown's fantasy owners as well as fans of fantastic celebration dances is that Stanton threw deep to Brown three times. While none connected, the team is still intent on using Brown for the big plays Bruce Arians loves so much. In the meantime, some improved chemistry with Stanton after a few weeks of practice reps should have all parties in the passing game a bit more in sync.
2014 Week 12 vs SEA (5 / 3 / 61 / 0 rec)
The only bright spot for the offense on Sunday was the play of rookie sensation John Brown. In addition to his team-leading 61 yards, of which his phenomenal 33-yard toe-tapping sideline grab was apart of, Brown also drew a 40-yard pass interference penalty early in the game. With the absence of Larry Fitzgerald due to an MCL sprain, Brown was put in a slightly different role as a receiver on Sunday and his impressive play is surly a positive sign for his development at the position.
2014 Week 13 vs ATL (5 / 2 / 40 / 0 rec)
John Brown was the forgotten man on Sunday, or maybe more accurately it was just an inability to find him, but Brown didn't catch a ball until midway through the fourth quarter when the game's outcome was already decided. Stanton did miss seeing Brown wide open in the end-zone early in the first half, although a strong pass rush forced him off his spots and out of his reads quicker than intended.
2014 Week 16 vs SEA (8 / 3 / 54 / 0 rec)
Like Floyd, Brown also struggled with some drops Sunday night. This has been a bit of a growing trend for Brown, and you have to wonder if he's hit a bit of a rookie wall. So dynamic early in the year, Brown hasn't had a touchdown for 7 weeks. This coincides with the Cardinals' quarterback injuries, which have no doubt impacted Brown's performance, but the rookie WR is still struggling in his own right. Brown ended up leading the team in receiving yards, but none of any significance.
2014 Week 17 vs SF (9 / 4 / 51 / 0 rec)
Brown had another poor showing, a mixture of poor quarterback play and a rookie who appears to have hit his proverbial wall. Most disconcerting during Brown's second-half decline have been the dropped passes, which reared its head again on Sunday. While the majority of Brown's drops have been a concentration issue, his lack of size/strength has been the culprit him at times. Its unreasonable to expect Brown to ever be a muscular receiver, but it's important for him to put on some muscle this off-season to better stand up to the rigors of the NFL season.
2014 Week 18 vs CAR (5 / 4 / 34 / 0 rec)
The excitement and big plays from Brown took a big hit with the multiple quarterback injuries, but Brown also appeared to hit the proverbial rookie-wall and never really caught his second wind. Brown ended up leading the team in both catches and yards on Saturday, but none were of any significance and nearly 2/3rds of those yards came late in the 4th with the game all but decided. Brown will always be limited in size and strength, but its important for him to get bigger this offseason to better hold up to the wear and tear of a full NFL year.