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Old 12-27-2010, 06:22 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history
Monday, December 27, 2010
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10361/1113684-66.stm

Terry Bradshaw and John Stallworth played together for 10 seasons. Bubby Brister and Louis Lipps played on the same team for six years.

Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace have been teammates for only 31 games, but they already are on the verge of becoming the most prolific big-play combination in franchise history.

When Roethlisberger and Wallace hooked up for a 43-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the Steelers' victory Thursday against Carolina, they tied a club record for most touchdowns of 40 yards or more by a quarterback-wide receiver combination.

It was the seventh time Roethlisberger and Wallace had combined for a touchdown of 40-plus yards. Brister and Lipps also combined for seven touchdowns of 40 or more yards. Bradshaw and Stallworth and Jim Finks and Ray Mathews had six such hookups.

Five of Wallace's 40-plus yard touchdowns have come this season.

"He's a great player," Wallace said of Roethlisberger. "He has a real good feel for the game. It's not hard for me as a receiver when you have a guy that good. I have the easy job, especially when you're playing with a guy like that."

Early in the season, Wallace was making his big plays on long passes over top of the coverage. He twice got behind defenders for long touchdowns against Tampa Bay, did it again three weeks later against Cleveland and once more the following week against Miami.

Defensive coordinators caught on and have been cognizant of Wallace's ability to get behind safeties. Wallace, a second-year speedster out of Ole Miss, earned the nickname "one-trick pony" from coach Mike Tomlin because of his desire to run deep routes, but he has been showing his coach a new trick or two in recent weeks.

Wallace's last two long touchdowns have been short passes with big yards after the catch. His 43-yarder against the Panthers came on a "hot" read by Roethlisberger. Wallace caught the pass down the seam and sprinted past linebackers and converging defensive backs for an easy score.

Wallace's 52-yard touchdown against the Raiders Nov. 21 was a short crossing route that he turned into a big play because of his ability to accelerate quickly.

"They don't really want me to get deep anymore, so they kind of try to prevent that," Wallace said of opposing teams in recent games.

"Guys are really falling off. They always have a safety over the top. It's kind of hard for me to get deep. I want to, but you always have to do other things. You always have to be able to improvise and do it another way. If you can't get it one way, work hard and get it another way. That's what I try to do."

Wallace is hopeful that his catch-and-run skills will force opposing coaches to rethink their approach to defending him.

"It's going to make the defenses come back down," Wallace said. "If I can catch it and run that means I'm going to score anyway. Sometimes, you'll have to play it honest. They'll have to come down anyway.

"Hopefully, with me doing that, the defenses are going to come back down, and we can get back over the top again."

Either way, Wallace's big-play abilities are opening things up for others. The Steelers have not been scoring a lot of touchdowns lately, but they have been piling up yardage. Tight end Heath Miller had five receptions for 73 yards against Carolina and rookie receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown combined for six receptions for 74 yards.

"It helps the offense a lot," running back Rashard Mendenhall said of Wallace's big plays. "The defenses have to be sensitive to his skill set, and it opens up everything for everyone else on the field."

Wallace had four receptions for 104 yards against the Panthers. It was his sixth 100-yard game this season. Only one receiver in club history has seven 100-yard receiving games in a season.

Stallworth did it in 1984 with Mark Malone at quarterback.

All team records are regular-season records and do not include playoff games. Stallworth is in the Hall of Fame because of his ability to make big plays in Super Bowls. Stallworth had a 75-yard touchdown catch in Super Bowl XIII against Dallas and a 73-yarder against Los Angeles in Super Bowl XIV. The one against the Rams came when the Steelers were trailing early in the fourth quarter.

Wallace will have an opportunity to compete in the playoffs for the first time in a few weeks. He knows he will be remembered for what he accomplishes in the postseason much more than the regular season because of the uniform he wears. And he knows the Steelers won't last very long if their red-zone struggles continue.

That's why he was not pleased after the 27-3 victory against the Panthers that left a lot to be desired for the offense.

"We won the game, but I feel like we left a lot of things out there," he said. "We feel like we should have scored more points. That's the type of mentality we have to have, especially this close to the playoffs. It's time to be perfect. No one is satisfied."
Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1230.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10361...#ixzz19JX71DRy
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

Good to see Wallace starting to get some love.

Mike Wallace 2010: 15 games, 57 catches, 1,152 yards, 20.2 Yards per catch, 9 TD
Santonio Holmes 2009: 16 games, 79 catches, 1,248 yards, 15.8 yards per catch, 5 TD

And this is without Roethlisberger for 4 games... remember when people bashed the Steelers for getting rid of Holmes? Riiiiiiiight.

Wallace is better than Holmes already. The numbers speak for themselves. Hopefully he continues to play well in the playoffs too.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

i'm impressed with wallace, i thought he would have his struggles trying to become a complete receiver but he hasn't been all talk. he may be scary good when you think about it only being his 2nd year and he will only get better.
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Old 12-27-2010, 06:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heeeeeeeath View Post
Good to see Wallace starting to get some love.

Mike Wallace 2010: 15 games, 57 catches, 1,152 yards, 20.2 Yards per catch, 9 TD
Santonio Holmes 2009: 16 games, 79 catches, 1,248 yards, 15.8 yards per catch, 5 TD

And this is without Roethlisberger for 4 games... remember when people bashed the Steelers for getting rid of Holmes? Riiiiiiiight.

Wallace is better than Holmes already. The numbers speak for themselves. Hopefully he continues to play well in the playoffs too.
Wallace is lacking in one significant stat, number of catches. The additional 22 (likely 15-17 after next week) receptions that Holmes had represents a lot of drive sustaining first downs. Wallace still has room for some growth.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

That's where the 4 games without Roethlisberger come in. If he had played the first 4 games, it's reasonable to expect that Wallace would end up with almost exactly the same # of catches as Holmes had last year.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heeeeeeeath View Post
Good to see Wallace starting to get some love.

Mike Wallace 2010: 15 games, 57 catches, 1,152 yards, 20.2 Yards per catch, 9 TD
Santonio Holmes 2009: 16 games, 79 catches, 1,248 yards, 15.8 yards per catch, 5 TD

And this is without Roethlisberger for 4 games... remember when people bashed the Steelers for getting rid of Holmes? Riiiiiiiight.

Wallace is better than Holmes already. The numbers speak for themselves. Hopefully he continues to play well in the playoffs too.
While I'm 100% confident that Wallace has the potential to be better than Holmes, I'm not sure he's as complete a WR just yet, and I would even tend to agree that his results make him a more dangerous and productive a football player, but that's not necessarily a trait you can count on as reliably. Wallace isn't quite the receiver you can count on for a solid 80-90 tough yards over 13 catches, heck, his highest number of receptions in a game for his career is 8.

But please don't pretend you wouldn't be happier with Wallace AND a player of Holmes' talent on this team. Sanders and Brown are shaping up well but still have a ways to go (heck, even Wallace does) but Ward has dropped off quite a bit (Holmes AND Ward were both 1100+ yard WRs for us last season, Ward will be lucky to break 800), this would be a much more explosive and dynamic team with Wallace AND Holmes as the #1 and #2 WRs, and we're already one of the top teams in terms of explosive offense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LukesDad88 View Post
Wallace is lacking in one significant stat, number of catches. The additional 22 (likely 15-17 after next week) receptions that Holmes had represents a lot of drive sustaining first downs. Wallace still has room for some growth.
So what's the difference if the drive sustaining catch went for 20 yards instead of 15? Its not an infinite field, the fact that Wallace has less receptions but a higher yard per reception average means nothing inherently negative as long as he's getting similar total yardage - which he is - and especially touchdowns, of which he's getting significantly more. With a finite field a player with a higher yard per reception average will always have less receptions, your argument really is pretty silly.

Maybe you meant to say that Holmes made a lot of clutch 3rd/4th down catches and that Wallace hasn't really done the same (I'm not sure if that's true but maybe you know the stat and that's what you meant to say)?

After all, Holmes did have some pretty clutch catches, especially his famous one in the superbowl, but its not like Wallace hasn't had similar if not nearly identical catches - Wallace's game winning catch against the shootout vs. Green Bay last year was obviously less important but was at least identical to if not more impressive in terms of technical difficulty and clutchness than Holmes' SB catch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heeeeeeeath View Post
That's where the 4 games without Roethlisberger come in. If he had played the first 4 games, it's reasonable to expect that Wallace would end up with almost exactly the same # of catches as Holmes had last year.
Its not like Wallace didn't have any receptions in those first four games. With Ben he averaged ~4.3 receptions per game, without he averaged 2.25, if we normalize that then we could add maybe 8 receptions (and ~160 yards) to his total, not the 17-18 that would likely be required to match.

Anyways, I've already made the argument that total catches don't really matter as long as the yards and TDs are there. He'll only need 5 receptions if he keeps his average up to match/surpass Holmes total yardage from last season, and one more TD would double the production in that regard.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heeeeeeeath View Post
That's where the 4 games without Roethlisberger come in. If he had played the first 4 games, it's reasonable to expect that Wallace would end up with almost exactly the same # of catches as Holmes had last year.
Wallace had 3 rec, 100yds and 2 TDs against Tampa Bay and Batch was playing. He got 2 receptions against Tennessee (Batch) too.
I don't think Ben would have thrown him the ball much more.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

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Wallace had 3 rec, 100yds and 2 TDs against Tampa Bay and Batch was playing. He got 2 receptions against Tennessee (Batch) too.
I don't think Ben would have thrown him the ball much more.
I already did the math (4.3 reception average with Ben vs. 2.25 without) but you must have skipped my post
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

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I already did the math (4.3 reception average with Ben vs. 2.25 without) but you must have skipped my post
I missed your post indeed and I agree with you.
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