PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Wide receiver Mike Wallace is having a career yea with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wallace, a 2009 draft pick, spent last season behind Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes on the depth chart, but now he is a go-to receiver for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
In his two seasons in the NFL, Wallace has a total of 2,013 yards and 16 touchdowns on 99 receptions. Ten of those 16 touchdowns came this year.
He has been compared to Steelers’ Hall of Famers John Stallworth and Lynn Swann, both players never had more than 11 touchdowns in a season.
Stallworth elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002 played for 14 seasons and finished with 8,723 yards and 63 touchdowns. Swann elected in 2001 played nine seasons and totaled 5,462 yards and 68 touchdowns.
When Wallace does line up for a play, Roethlisberger does know one thing that won’t happen if he throws the ball in Wallace’s direction; he won’t overthrow him.
Wallace considers himself the best wide receiver in the league, not by the numbers but by his speed. This season, he is averaging 21 yards a catch this season and has seven 100-plus yard games.
The only player with more yards per catch is the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson with 22.5 yards.
Whether the Steelers play the Colts, Chiefs or Ravens next week in the divisional playoffs, defending Wallace will be a priority.
Five of Wallace’s touchdowns this season are for 40 yards or longer. He and Roethlisberger already have connected eight times in two seasons on scoring pass plays of such length.
“We understand that this is the playoffs, and we expect things to happen pretty quickly there,” Wallace said. “I just want Ben to know I’ll be ready for him when he needs me. I’ll make the big plays, just like I did during the regular season. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t been in the playoffs before.”