The Dolphins didn’t just lock down Antonio Brown on Sunday.
They got in the Steelers star receiver’s head.
Playing just three miles from his alma mater Norland High School, Brown didn’t have the homecoming he envisioned.
Brown, the league’s leading receiver entering Week 6, caught just four passes for 39 yards on Sunday. And he lost his cool late in the game, according to cornerback Byron Maxwell.
“It’s football. He’s losing, so ...,” Maxwell said. “He was hot, but who cares?”
Brown hadn’t fully cooled down when he talked to reporters afterward. When asked if had any room to get open Sunday, he responded:
“I don’t know man, you’ve got to ask the guys,” Brown said. “Ask someone else. I thought I had some room but I guess not. We lost the game.”
Brown added that “we have to find a way to win games, especially games we should win.”
You can forgive Brown for thinking that way; the Dolphins were home underdogs by a touchdown Sunday, and their pass defense was a major reason why.
Maxwell played his best game in a Dolphins uniform, breaking up a career-high four passes. It was a remarkable comeback from just two weeks ago, when he was benched for the entire Bengals game after poor play to start the season.
“In the NFL, there’s ups and downs in the season,” Maxwell said. “We feel like we’re on top of the world right now. We’ve got to continue this feeling. It’s a great feeling.”
That Dolphins intercepted Ben Roethlisberger twice (Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul-Quddus each had one), and held him to a 57.1 passer rating, his lowest mark in five years.
Walt Aikens is one of the Dolphins’ best special teams players, but he was a healthy scratch Sunday.
Because Gase practices what he preaches when it comes to accountability.
Aikens was late for a team meeting last week, according to a league source. And so Gase made him one of the Dolphins’ seven inactives. (The others: Corner Bené Benwikere, tight end Jordan Cameron, defensive end Terrence Fede, corner Xavien Howard, defensive end Julius Warmsley and tackle Sam Young).
The Dolphins didn’t particularly miss Aikens; they dominated the Steelers, and other than a blocked field goal, had no major special-teams breakdowns.
This isn’t the first time Aikens has been punished in this fashion. Joe Philbin made him inactive on the last week of the 2014 season for violating a team rule.
Another TE injured
Dion Sims left the game after suffering a head injury and did not return. He was evaluated for a concussion. If Sims is concussed, he’ll be the second starting tight end in the protocol. Cameron hasn’t played since Week 3.
“It was a shame that — Dion was playing really well — he goes out,” Gase said. “‘D.J.’ [Dominique Jones] and ‘Q’ [MarQueis Gray] did a great job though of coming in and being ready to go. ... Both those guys, they played tough. We didn’t lose anything in the running game. … They did a great job.”