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Thread: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

      
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    Default Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    Steelers' Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history
    Monday, December 27, 2010
    By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    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.

    [IMGR]http://i53.tinypic.com/neevwh.jpg[/IMGR]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."

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10361/1113684-66.stm
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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    Quite the combination
    12-26-2010
    By Teresa Varley - Steelers.com

    It’s no secret that Mike Wallace is a big-play threat for the offense, but it’s more apparent now that he and Ben Roethlisberger tied a Steelers record for most touchdowns of 40 yards or more by a quarterback-wide receiver combination. They tied the record set by Bubby Brister and Louis Lipps, who also combined for seven touchdowns of 40 yards or more.

    Wallace pulled in a 43-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger in the second quarter against the Panthers to give the Steelers a 10-0 lead.

    “He’s doing a lot of different things and I told him (Thursday) he did something that I have been waiting for him to do, and that was on the deep ball, come back to it,” said Roethlisberger. “Make that play on our sideline, on their sideline. That’s something a lot of speed guys can’t always do. If it’s short, they kind of let it go. He did a great job. He stopped and he came back and made a play. That’s what I was probably most happy to see from him.”

    With Wallace only in his second year, and continually developing, it’s a record that the two should break.

    “He’s a young man in development,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “I like where he is right now, but he is capable of more. I like a guy that is producing plays to help us win, but at the same time I understand that there is more out there for him. He’s got a desire to be a great player and he works at it every day.”

    Wallace finished the Panthers game with four receptions for 104 yards. It was his sixth 100-yard game of the season, tying him with Yancey Thigpen (1997) for most 100-yard games in a season. Only John Stallworth (1984) has had more 100-yard games in a season with seven.

    “I had an okay game but I feel like I could have done some things better,” said Wallace. “I feel like I should have had 200 yards. I missed a pass out there.”

    http://www.steelers.com/news/article...3-7ac3175b6635
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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    They will only get better.

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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    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.
    You know, that surprised me. For about a half a second.
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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    Chuck Noll was so much of running the ball and ball control it's a wonder our receivers got the stats that they did.

    We had two of the best receivers in league history with Swann and Stallworth along with Franco and the other weapons on offense. There was just not enough balls to go around and it was different times back then and with less games in the season.
    No matter what era or what imaginary league we could pick and pluck from the past to the current day I, would still choose Stallworth and Swan to be my starters.

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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    Wallace aims to make Browns pay for draft snub



    AP Photo / Tom E. Puskar
    Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace runs against the New England Patriots during a Nov. 14 game in Pittsburgh. Wallace had eight catches for 136 yards and two TDs, although the Patriots won, 39-26.


    by Steve Doerschuk
    CantonRep.com staff writer
    Posted Dec 29, 2010 @ 06:57 PM


    Eleven isn’t Mike Wallace’s idea of a lucky number.

    On April 26, 2009, he became the 11th wide receiver selected in the NFL draft.

    He had a whole night to lose sleep over it, because only two rounds were conducted April 25 — the last two wideouts drafted on the first day were Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi.

    Wallace was angry. Draft position is money. He was insulted. He knew he would be a star. He thought all kinds of crazy thoughts.

    “I guess I just really didn’t get much hype,” he says now. “Draft analysts make you or break you. I think if you don’t get any hype, you kind of get overlooked.”

    That’s a foolish blanket indictment. General managers and scouts probably weren’t worried about what Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock thought. They had legitimate concern that Wallace, whose incredible speed anyone could see, would be too much of a project. Good luck teaching that guy an NFL route tree.

    Updated memo to GMs and scouts: Good luck covering him.

    In just his second year with the Steelers, Wallace looks like Browns Hall of Famer Paul Warfield.

    His 57 catches pale in comparison to the high-volume wideouts. His average per catch, 20.2, leads the AFC — Warfield averaged more than 20 yards a catch in each of four consecutive seasons before Art Modell got the bright idea of trading him for the draft rights to Mike Phipps.

    Heading into Sunday’s game at Cleveland, Wallace has 1,152 receiving yards, fifth in the league.

    Yes, the 11th wideout picked in the 2009 draft is fully aware that Cleveland double-snubbed him.

    The Browns had three second-round picks and spent two of them on players at his position. Robiskie and Massaquoi were the seventh and eighth wide receivers selected.

    “I take it real personal,” said Wallace, 24.

    He caught only three passes against the Browns in October, but he made them hurt. They went for 90 yards. One was a touchdown.

    He had a monster game against New England a few weeks later, eight catches for 136 yards and two TDs. In the six games since then, he has caught 27 passes for 509 yards.

    There’s a chance that when he runs past the Browns bench Sunday, he’ll be winking or scowling inside.

    “The only thing that matters now is, they did overlook me, and I’m gonna have to make ‘em pay, that’s all,” Wallace said.

    Wallace makes no bones about whether he is the fastest man in the NFL.

    “Uh ... probably,” he said.

    He is no track man in a football suit. He remembers running an open 100 meters maybe once in high school, clocking something around a 10.4. He remembers running a 40-yard dash in 4.21. His game is football.

    In fairness to the teams that passed on Wallace after he played college ball for Mississippi, some of his wrath could be directed at his own team.

    Before the Steelers picked him, they spent a first-round pick on defensive end Ziggy Hood, who has started recently only because Aaron Smith has been hurt. They didn’t have a Round 2 pick, but with the first of two third-rounders, they took tackle Kraig Urbik, whom they cut in September.

    In terms of draft value, then, it cannot be denied that the Steelers thought Wallace was no Kraig Urbik.

    “We felt pretty good about filling the void left by Nate Washington,” head coach Mike Tomlin said Wednesday. “During his rookie year, we realized we had a guy with big-play potential.

    “That was one of the reasons we felt comfortable enough to move Santonio (Holmes).”

    “As soon as the trade happened,” Wallace said earlier Wednesday, “coach told me I was gonna move up and be starting.

    “That was nice. I never played football wanting to be the third receiver.”

    Holmes, a former Round 1 pick coming off a 95-catch, 1,167-yard season, was shipped to the Jets.

    The Jets’ leading receiver is ex-Brown Braylon Edwards. One way to appreciate Wallace’s big-play value is to note that his 57 catches have produced 1,152 yards. Edwards has milked 852 yards out of 52 catches.

    Wallace kind of chuckled to himself when asked if he suspected the Browns were going to pick him in the ‘09 draft.

    “I never really thought about it,” he said.

    He does seem to have thought about the Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry.

    “Oh, man,” he said. “It’s very serious. They don’t like us very much in Cleveland. We don’t like them much, either.”


    THIRD-ROUND THUNDER

    2010 season statistics of the 10 wide receivers picked before Mike Wallace in the 2009 NFL draft.

    Draft spot, receiver, team Catches-Yds., Avg. TDs

    No. 7, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders 26-366, 14.1 1
    No. 10, Michael Crabtree, 49ers 51-694, 13.6 6
    No. 19, Jeremy Maclin, Eagles 70-964, 13.8 10
    No. 22, Percy Harvin, Vikings 63-799, 12.7 5
    No. 29, Hakeem Nicks, Giants 79-1052, 13.3 11
    No. 30, Kenny Britt, Titans 37-690, 18.6 8
    No. 36, Brian Robiskie, Browns 27-275, 10.2 2
    No. 50, Mohamed Massaquoi, Browns 33-433, 13.1 2
    No. 82, Derrick Williams, Lions 3-30, 10.0 0
    No. 83, Brandon Tate, Patriots 22-350, 15.9 2
    No. 84, Mike Wallace, Steelers 57-1,152, 20.2 9

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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    It's picks like Wallace for the Steelers that has made us a great team throughout the decades.

    When you pick guys like Wallace, Ward, Lloyd, Arron Smith, Kiesel, Woodley to name a few that were not number one picks but play like number one picks, your team will do well for a long time.

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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    Mike Wallace: NFL's Best Big Play WR

    December 30 2010
    By Adam Gretz



    When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets this past offseason, the biggest question for the offense was who would replace him as the its big-play threat in the passing game. Holmes, for all of his problems off of the field (two suspensions: one by the team in 2008, one by the NFL in 2010, a now infamous and probably forgotten Twitter meltdown) was an impact player on it. A Super Bowl MVP and an explosive wide receiver capable of turning any pass into a touchdown.

    The answer for his replacement was an easy one, coming in the form of second-year wide receiver Mike Wallace. Fresh off a rookie campaign that saw him finish with the highest yards-per-catch average in the NFL, he's emerged as not only the Steelers biggest impact player on offense, but also the best big play wide receiver in the NFL.

    As a rookie in the Steelers offense in 2009, many of Wallace's catches came as the result of him using his freakish speed and simply out-running defensive backs down the field and hauling in bombs from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. That is very different from the type of player that Holmes was for the Steelers. Holmes excelled at turning the 10-yard pass into a 60-yard gain. He was at his best after he already had the football in his hands and was making people miss. Wallace simply managed to run past everybody and pick up all 60 yards at once.

    Over the course of his sophomore season, Wallace's game has started to round into shape. He's no longer the guy that simply runs "9 routes" down the sidelines every play (though, he still does that) and gets behind the secondary. He's also starting to improve his route running and become more of a factor on the short and intermediate routes and turning short passes into big gains.

    During the Steelers' Week 16 win against Carolina, for example, he took advantage of a Carolina blitz, hauled in a hot route, and sprinted through the entire Panthers secondary for a 43-yard touchdown.

    Head coach Mike Tomlin, who has at times this season called Wallace a "one trick pony," referring to his ability to burn secondaries down field, was asked at his weekly press conference on Tuesday what improvements Wallace still needed to make to become a more complete receiver. Tomlin pointed to attention to detail in route running and reading coverages. When asked if the touchdown against Carolina was what he had in mind, Tomlin simply smiled and said he liked what he saw on that play. Tomlin is big on talking about how there's always room for improvement, even in victory, so it's not a surprise that he'd like to see even more from his still raw -- and extremely talented -- second-year receiver.

    So far this season Wallace has scored on plays of 41, 46, 29, 53, 39, 33, 52 and 43, and has two additional plays of 50 yards or more. No player on the NFL has more catches of 20-or-more yards entering Week 17 (24), and only DeSean Jackson of the Eagles averages more yards per catch. He's currently sixth in the NFL in receiving yards, despite only being targeted on 95 passes (catching 57), which ranks 40th in the NFL. Basically: even though he's not targeted as often as some other receivers, when the ball is thrown in Wallace's direction, big plays tend to happen.

    The advanced statistical metrics at Football Outsiders rank Wallace as the No. 1 receiver in the NFL in 2010 both in terms of total value and value per play. He's also managed to catch 61 percent of the balls thrown his direction, which is an impressive accomplishment when you consider how many of his passes are deep down field and lower percentage plays.

    The FO metrics aren't perfect, nor are they the end-all, be-all, but they're no more flawed than simply looking at total receptions or total yards without any context. A receiver that plays on a dreadful team that is constantly playing from behind and forced to throw the football in an effort to play catch up is going to make a lot of catches (Santana Moss and his 84 catches for the Redskins come to mind as an example of this). But hauling in a bunch of passes when your team is fighting a lost cause down by 20 points in the fourth quarter isn't as valuable as making big plays to put your team in a position to win. The Steelers rarely play from behind and have run the ball over 440 times this season, which doesn't give a receiver like Wallace as many opportunities to rack up huge reception numbers. But that doesn't take away from his overall value to the offense.

    For as good as Holmes was for the Steelers (and still is for the Jets), Pittsburgh hasn't missed him due to the meteoric rise of Wallace, as well as the late-season development of rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

    http://nfl.fanhouse.com/2010/12/30/m...t-big-play-wr/

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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    Wallace added a 50+ yard TD, another 40+ yard catch, and a 100 yard game today. That broke the team record mentioned in the original article and made him only the second player in team history with 7 100 yard games in a season. He finished the season ranked 5th in the NFL in receiving yards, 7th in receiving TDs, and 2nd in YPC (DeSean Jackson had only 47 catches, though). He also led the league in both 20+ yard catches and 40+ yard catches.

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    Default Re: Wallace, Roethlisberger on verge of history

    Wallace's improvement from his rookie year to now should make DC's around the league, insomniacs. He beats you deep and on short routes now. I really believe he is becoming a better receiver than Holmes, who can't seem to adopt the team concept. Looks like the Steelers receiving corps will be in good hands for years to come.
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