I believe part of the problem with last year's passing game was the insistence that Brown was the go-to receiver. How did that work out? It became painfully obvious that aside from Samuel, the offense was JT-to-Brown or bust.
I think this breakdown misses the mark. You said "aside from Samuel, the offense was JT-to-Brown or bust", but actually, Samuel was the go-to or bust last year. Defenses were scheming to take Samuel away, not Noah Brown, and despite that, Samuel STILL got his. This fact alone makes it even more remarkable that Brown only ended up with 32 catches.
I think the only thing that shut down Brown was the playcalling, because after his breakout game against OK, we simply stopped throwing the ball his direction. He mostly got single coverage by a corner, nothing fancy by the defense to try and limit him.