Brown caught a 29-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-1 in the second quarter to give Pittsburgh the lead for good as the Steelers went on to defeat the Washington Redskins 38-16 on Monday night.
Early in the second quarter, however, they trailed 6-0 facing fourth and short at the Washington 29. Rather than kick a field goal, or run it, Roethlisberger lofted a pass down the left sideline, and Brown, covered by Bashaud Breeland with DeAngelo Hall closing, went up and got it for the touchdown.
"The call came from the sideline. We had a designed play," Roethlisberger said. "They gave us a look. They sold out on the run, throw it up top to AB and he makes a play."
The Steelers went 2-for-2 on fourth down conversions on the night.
"We play to win," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said.
Conversely the Redskins were 0-for-2 on fourth down and 3-for-10 on third.
"We didn't convert (fourth downs) and we weren't very good on third downs," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "The money downs are a big difference in the game, but overall they just out-coached us and out-played us."
Brown caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns for Pittsburgh (1-0).
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 30 of 43 passes for 329 yards. He threw two interceptions and saw his streak of 16 straight regular-season games (17 overall) with a touchdown pass snapped.
"We just need to play better in every different way," Cousins said. "The same old things we have to do in every game: protect the football, avoid penalties, convert third downs, convert fourth down, take advantage of opportunities."
DeSean Jackson had six catches for 102 yards for Washington (0-1).
With the Redskins trailing 24-9 at the start of the fourth quarter, Cousins completed all five of his throws and led Washington 77 yards in just 2:18. Chris Thompson scored from the 1-yard-line for his first career rushing touchdown with 13:01 left to play, making it 24-16.
However, Roethlisberger directed a 13-play, 73-yard touchdown drive that took 7:13 off the clock. He found Brown for 21 yards to the Washington 15, and on the next play, Williams ran left, split two would-be tacklers and raced in for the touchdown to push the lead to 31-16.
"That's a huge drive for us because we used time and scored," Roethlisberger said.
Midway through the third quarter, Cousins' first home interception at FedEx Field in 253 pass attempts was quickly turned into Pittsburgh points.
On second-and-10, Roethlisberger fumbled the snap, picked the ball up and heaved it down the left sideline where Sammie Coates hauled it in for a 42-yard gain. Three plays later, Brown made a nice over-the-shoulder catch on fade route for a 26-yard touchdown, and the Steelers lead was 24-6 with 7:01 left in the third quarter.
A 31-yard catch-and-run by Jackson set the Redskins up at the Pittsburgh 38 early in the game. Washington drove inside the 15 before having to settle for a 31-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal.
The Redskins fared no better after Bashaud Breeland's interception gave them a first down on the Steelers 37, with Hopkins connecting again, this time from 40 yards out to make it 6-0.
"They had momentum the early part of the game," Tomlin sad. "The defense did a nice job of making them settle for three until we could get our feet under us offensively."
The second quarter became a tale of fourth-down success and failure that ended with Pittsburgh ahead 14-6.
First, the Steelers got a huge break after Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan broke through and forced a Roethlisberger fumble. Kerrigan tried to pick it up, lost it and the Steelers retained possession on their 13 and drove down for their first score.
The Redskins drove into Steelers territory again, but on fourth-and-6, Cousins' pass to Thompson was only good for 5 yards.
With 6:19 left in the half, Pittsburgh mixed runs by Williams with Roethlisberger throws to get inside the Washington 10. Included was a 19-yard completion to Eli Rogers on fourth-and-1 from the Washington 34.
The Steelers capped the drive when Roethlisberger's pass intended for Coates on a slant deflected in the end zone to Rogers for a 3-yard touchdown with 27 seconds left in the half.
"I saw it bounce off somebody's chest or shoulder pads or something and I kind of followed it, I saw it the air and I just grabbed it," said Rogers, who had six catches for 59 yards.
NOTES: Pittsburgh LB Ryan Shazier left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury, and was being evaluated after the game, according to Tomlin... Washington WR Pierre Garcon started his 100th career game. ... The Redskins' first-round draft pick, WR Josh Doctson, played after being listed as questionable due to an Achilles tendon injury. ... Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger crossed the 43,000-yard plateau for his career with a first-quarter completion. Later in the half, he surpassed Dan Fouts (43,040) for the 12th-most passing yards in NFL history. ... Redskins coach Jay Gruden and two members of his staff worked with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Jon Gruden.