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Old 09-27-2010, 08:31 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' Wallace excels in deep passing game

Steelers' Wallace excels in deep passing game
Monday, September 27, 2010
Last updated: 8:15 am

TAMPA, Fla. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin calls it taking the top off the defense.

On the Steelers, no one does that better than Mike Wallace.

Wallace got behind Tampa Bay's defense twice Sunday to catch long touchdown passes from Charlie Batch in the Steelers' 38-13 win at Raymond James Stadium.

"We were missing Mike Wallace over the top," free safety Ryan Clark said. "We haven't had him in a couple of weeks."

For Wallace, it was hopefully the start of something big.

"I feel like I can be one of the better guys in the game if I get the opportunity," said Wallace, who had three receptions for 100 yards and whose touchdowns were both longer than 40 yards. "That was just the beginning. That was nothing. We've got a lot of plays to be made."

Wallace's confidence results from his sprinter's speed that enables him to run past defensive backs with the greatest of ease. The Steelers took advantage of Wallace's burst downfield and the inexperience of rookie safety Cody Grimm.

Both times, the Buccaneers secondary bit on Batch's play-action fakes.

"(Batch) really sold them on play action," Wallace said. "Both times the safety came down, and it was me and the cornerback 1-on-1. You know what that is."

Yesterday, it was Tampa Bay defensive backs with red faces.

Wide receiver Hines Ward expects more of the same from Wallace, who tied for the team lead with six touchdown receptions last season while leading the NFL in yards per catch.

"Stuff like that is the potential Mike brings," Ward said.

Wallace is trying to become more than just another fast receiver. He wants to develop chemistry with his quarterback whoever that is.

The first two weeks of the season, Dennis Dixon was the starter. Batch made his first start of the season against Tampa Bay, and he will start next week against Baltimore. Following the bye week, Ben Roethlisberger is expected to resume as the starter.

"This year we're taking it slower because of certain situations. We all know what it is," Wallace said, referring to the unsettled quarterback situation. "Any time a quarterback has confidence in you like that, you never want to let him down. I gotta keep him on my side. He played like he was 25 today."

Batch, 35, hit Wallace for touchdowns of 46 yards in the first quarter and 41 yards in the second quarter. The second pass was tipped by defensive back Aqib Talib. Batch and Wallace also connected on a 13-yard completion in the second quarter.

Wallace particularly liked how he was able to locate the ball on his first touchdown catch.

"I couldn't really see the ball until it got close," Wallace said. "I was trying to find Charlie and I couldn't find him. I just saw the ball in the air. He threw it and I tried to make a play."

Nice try.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:53 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace excels in deep passing game

Wallace is great. I see no reason why he can't have 2 TDs per game when Ben returns or at minimum 2 catches for over 40 yards per game. It's gonna be funny when he beats Revis.

Prolific comes to mind. If Ben has worked on his accuracy, this could be amazing. Often Ben was throwing it too low, too far out there, too short, occasionally too high. The announcers always think this is by design and are so satisfied with the catch. Some may be by design but for others, if Ben hits the receiver in stride, more YAC is available. This is the accuracy of Brees and Manning. Ben is elite but still can improve in this area.
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