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fordfixer
11-25-2010, 09:26 AM
Maybe you could call him Mr. Clutch
By F. Dale Lolley, Staff writer dlolley@observer-reporter.com
http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/loc ... rs-Wallace (http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/localsports/11-25-2010-Steelers-Wallace)

PITTSBURGH - Mike Wallace is constantly trying to get Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to change his nickname of "One-Trick Pony" to something else.

In fact, the second-year pro comes up with new suggestions all the time.

Tomlin, who likes to use his nicknames for players as a motivational tool, isn't budging.

"Not yet. He's going to have to show me more than that play on Sunday," Tomlin said.

The play that Tomlin was referring to was a simple drag pattern across the middle that Wallace turned into a 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the Steelers' 35-3 win over Oakland.

It was Wallace's 12th touchdown reception of 40 or more yards in just 26 career games and a league-best 10th reception of more than 30 yards this season.

Opposing teams have certainly taken notice.

"You know they're going to try to go deep with him two or three times per game, and you'd better be ready to defend it," said Buffalo coach Chan Gailey, whose team faces the challenge of stopping Wallace and the Steelers (7-3) Sunday.

The difference between the catch against the Raiders and all of the other long gains Wallace has made is that he didn't just use his blazing speed to run past a defender and catch the ball. Wallace caught a five-yard pass and turned it into a long score.

"I really just thought he was getting the first down," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "From my angle, I didn't get to see it, but the other guys said he just put his foot in the ground and took off."

It was something Santonio Holmes, the player Wallace replaced in the Steelers' lineup after Holmes was traded in the offseason, was adept at doing.

Wallace said the catch-and-run is just part of his evolving game, at least in part, to prove to Tomlin he isn't simply a one-trick pony, as the coach says.

"I think it's all motivation. I don't think coach means anything by it," Wallace said. "He's always going to keep me on my toes. He doesn't want me to be satisfied. But I like coach telling me that. I'm going to try to prove him wrong.

"Eventually, he will (give Wallace a new name) because I'm going to continue to strive to do different things in my game."

Six wide receivers went in the first round of the last year's NFL draft, but the Steelers found Wallace, a little-used deep option at Mississippi, in the third round.

Only the Giants' Hakeem Nicks, the last of those first-round selections, is having a season comparable to Wallace, who is tied for the Steelers lead with 33 receptions. He has a team-best 759 yards and eight touchdowns.

In addition to Nicks, other receivers taken ahead of Wallace included Percy Harvin, Darius Heyward-Bey and Michael Crabtree.

None of those players has made as many game-changing plays as Wallace. After leading the NFL with an average yards per catch of 19.4 last season, he's at a league-best 23.0 yards per reception this season.

Wallace also has four 100-yard games, including three in a row, which ties the team record set by Hines Ward.

Wallace and Ward each had three receptions against the Raiders. Ward's three catches went for 28 yards, Wallace's went for 116.

"His three catches and my three catches are like night and day," said Ward. "He's our big-play guy. The more and more he continues to do that, he's going to open things up for me underneath."

And possibly get himself a new nickname.

Odds and end zones

Despite being penalized 14 times against the Raiders, including six personal fouls, no Steelers were fined by the league for plays made during that game. ... Cincinnati wide receiver Terrell Owens said earlier this week Roethlisberger was "soft" for not going after Oakland defensive end Richard Seymour after Seymour punched the QB during the game. When asked about it Wednesday, Roethlisberger said, "I don't need to comment on that. I'm focused on winning a championship." ... Roethlisberger refused to comment on Seymour's fine of $25,000. ... Several Steelers felt Seymour should be suspended for his actions.

ALLD
11-25-2010, 11:26 AM
It's going to take a Super Bowl MVP win for 60 Minutes before he surpasses Holmes' legacy.

papillon
11-25-2010, 12:21 PM
It's going to take a Super Bowl MVP win for 60 Minutes before he surpasses Holmes' legacy.

Holmes wasn't here long enough to have any established legacy. He was an emerging star to be sure, but a game winning catch in the Super Bowl in the final minute are far and few between. If Wallace continues to play at the level he's playing at right now and improve, Santonio Holmes will be the answer to a Pittsburgh Steeler trivia question compared to Wallace.

Don't allow one huge catch top cloud your judgment of Holmes; he was a good payer on the rise, but his stardom will be in New York, not Pittsburgh.

Pappy

rpmpit
11-25-2010, 12:59 PM
It's going to take a Super Bowl MVP win for 60 Minutes before he surpasses Holmes' legacy.

Holmes wasn't here long enough to have any established legacy. He was an emerging star to be sure, but a game winning catch in the Super Bowl in the final minute are far and few between. If Wallace continues to play at the level he's playing at right now and improve, Santonio Holmes will be the answer to a Pittsburgh Steeler trivia question compared to Wallace.

Don't allow one huge catch top cloud your judgment of Holmes; he was a good payer on the rise, but his stardom will be in New York, not Pittsburgh.

Pappy

Agreed. Holmes' legacy (unfortunately) is someone who preferred getting high to playing for the greatest franchise in all of sports.

hawaiiansteel
11-25-2010, 02:45 PM
I will remember Sanstonio for two things:

http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/si_online/covers/images/2009/0209_large.jpg and http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x147/susan918/cartoons/wake-n-bake.jpg

ALLD
11-25-2010, 09:56 PM
I watched Holmes catch so many drive saving passes that the catch in the SB was no surprise to me. He is the Reggie Jackson of the NFL who shows up past mid-season and excels in the playoffs.

costanza2k1
11-25-2010, 11:27 PM
Holmes' legacy could've been the missed catch on the previous play, thank God him and Ben made the pass and catch to get us the win. The pass that he missed was an easier one by far...guess that's where the fine line saying comes into play.

msp26505
11-25-2010, 11:46 PM
Don't allow one huge catch top cloud your judgment of Holmes; he was a good payer on the rise, but his stardom will be in New York, not Pittsburgh.

Pappy

I believe "infamy" may eventually be the more appropriate term.

Wallace108
11-26-2010, 02:12 AM
I'll be forever grateful to Holmes for his contribution in helping us win our sixth Super Bowl, but I remember a lot of games where he simply disappeared. I think Wallace is lot farther along in his second year than Holmes was. And with Wallace's talent and attitude, just imagine how good he's going to be in three or four more years.

NorthCoast
11-26-2010, 10:57 AM
I'll be forever grateful to Holmes for his contribution in helping us win our sixth Super Bowl, but I remember a lot of games where he simply disappeared. I think Wallace is lot farther along in his second year than Holmes was. And with Wallace's talent and attitude, just imagine how good he's going to be in three or four more years.

Agree with this. Whether by defensive design or his own lack of attitude, there were plenty of stretches where Holmes was completely ineffective. He will do well for the Jets, just wonder how he will handle success in New York. In can be a very hard town on the easily tempted.