When the Buccaneers played the Saints in Week One, Antonio Brown wasn’t employed. When the Bucs hosted New Orleans in Week Nine, it was Brown’s first game in more than a year.
Now, as the two teams prepare for round three, Brown is ready to contribute significantly.
“He’s [at] game speed,” coach Bruce Arians said in a Wednesday appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He’s back to being A.B. He’s a handful. . . . He is playing really well. Tom [Brady] and him are [on the] same page. He’s into the offense now. He knows the offense, knows where his receptions areas are. So anytime we can get him the ball, it’s dangerous.
“He’s back into game shape now. It’s one thing to be out running routes and having somebody throw to you and being in physical shape. But game shape is a whole different thing.”
Brown finished the regular season with an 11-catch, 138-yard, two-touchdown game against Atlanta. Much of that work happened after starting receiver Mike Evans was injured.
Tampa enters its showdown against the Saints with Evans healthy and Brown ready. The last time Brown played in the Superdome, he had 14 catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns in what would become the final game of his tenure with the Steelers.