Mike Wallace predicted a 2,000 yard season before it even started, and even though he was being a bit facetious when he did so, his quick jump to over 730 yards by Week 7 made me a believer. Weeks 8 through 12 however, have only garnered 209 yards and one touchdown – numbers at a pace much different than the beginning of the season. This slow of pace has come from defenses turning their attention in the form of double teams – good for our guys like Sanders and Brown to find openings. But, what doesn’t help is when Wallace beats those single or double coverages and drops a pass that hits him in the hands.
During the last four weeks of Wallace’s slide, the final score has been decided by 10 points or less. None hurt more than the loss to Baltimore decided in the final seconds of that game. One could go back to the tape and see numerous deep balls thrown by Ben Roethlisberger to his deep man – some thrown too far, too short and some being dropped. What’s interesting is that most of these tosses happen near the end of the first half or beginning of the second – something to serve as a dagger and begin pulling away on the scoreboard. That has yet to happen, and our blood pressure is suffering for it.
The deep ball is a very difficult play to achieve with constant success. It takes a powerful and accurate arm to hit a guy in stride 40 or 50+ yards down field. Things like a windy day can greatly effect the accuracy of those kinds of passes. Those kinds of cases you can’t really blame Wallace. But, boy is it irritating to see those passes come within reach and not get hauled in by the six foot speedster. Ultimately, the drops are not only hurting his goal of 2,000 yards (maybe next year, Mikey) but they are also contributing largely to these close games. And as far as I’m concerned, I could care less about the 100+ yard games and just like a single 60 yard bomb be caught for six that puts the team up by 14 or more points.
I think we also have to look at this realistically – if Wallace continues to be plagued with a case of the ‘dropsies,’ then teams will begin to loosen coverage and commit the safeties elsewhere. Those safeties can blitz more or stay in a zone that takes away any over the middle throws. Get the guy stick’em.
I think Wallace will rebound from this slump. He could still certainly gain 1,500 yards. His team, however, is in a very unfortunate position of needing to win out the rest of the season to have at least a fighting chance of winning the North division. Drops are something that could manifest themselves into losses. Wallace needs to quickly get back on the long ball express. The Bengals’
Nate Clements is still questionable for this Sunday as well as Brandon Ghee. Now is as good a time as any for Wallace to bounce back.
Now is as good a time as any for the Steelers to show they are still a powerful and potent offense that is hitting it’s stride just in time for the playoffs.