When Mike Wallace reported to the Steelers after missing all of the offseason workouts, training camp and the preseason, the big question was how long it would take the Pro Bowl wide receiver to pick up Todd Haley's new offense. Based on his play in the first two weeks of the season, Wallace has proven to be a fast learner.
Wallace has looked just as quick as last year and has run crisp routes. Even though he doesn't lead the Steelers in catches or yards (Antonio Brown currently does), Wallace has scored touchdowns in his first two games, including the decisive one Sunday against the Jets. On third-and-16, Wallace leapt in the air in front of cornerback Antonio Cromartie and somehow got his feet down inbounds on the right side of the end zone for a 37-yard score.
It put the Steelers ahead, 20-10, in the third quarter, and it more importantly showed that Wallace had no rust after being away from the team for seven months. This marked Wallace's 16th career touchdown catch that covered at least 30 yards.
For the season, Wallace has nine catches for 111 yards. That pales in comparison to his fast start last year, when he had 16 catches for 233 yards and one touchdown after two games. But Wallace's production is probably more than what many were expecting from Wallace after his lengthy holdout.
Wallace acknowledged that his numbers would be better if he had showed up for training camp. “I think I’m moving in the right direction and I’m helping my team,” Wallace told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
STAT THAT STICKS: 56.3 -- Percent of Ben Roethlisberger's passes completed under duress or hit while throwing since the start of last season, the highest percentage in the league.
OVERHEARD: "This is sacred ground here at Heinz Field. It's a very tough place for opponents to come in and play." Defensive end Brett Keisel told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after the Steelers won their 10th straight home opener.
WHAT'S AHEAD: The Steelers (1-1) travel to face an AFC West team for the second time in three weeks when they play at Oakland (0-2), which managed one touchdown in a 22-point loss at Miami on Sunday.