If the Steelers had lost to the Bengals, a lot of criticism this week would be directed at wide receiver Mike Wallace.
He dropped four passes in the 24-17 win over the Bengals, including a deflected pass in the end zone. It's like Wallace turned into Limas Sweed all of a sudden.
Wallace now has five drops in six games this season, which accounts for 10.4 percent of his targets. This is very unusual for Wallace, who had only dropped passes on 2.9 percent of his targets in his first three seasons in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He had never dropped more than four passes in a single season.
Asked about his drops, Wallace said, "I should have caught [them]. Bottom line, I didn't. I'll make up for it next week. We got the win, so I feel good about it."
Could this be the result of Wallace missing every practice this spring and summer over a contract dispute? Could it be that a potential soon-to-be free agent was pressing on national television?
Whatever the reason, not everyone feels as good as Wallace about the drops.
“The tape is the tape. He’s [Wallace] got to catch the ball in a consistent manner,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “He didn’t do it tonight. We’ll get back to work, and hopefully he’ll be better next week.”
The Steelers consistently looked to Wallace despite his struggles Sunday night. He was targeted 15 times, which was nearly double any other teammate.
“I don’t shy away from them even with drops,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “I will always have confidence in them no matter what. These guys all hold themselves to a really high standard, and it just shows how valuable these guys are to our attack.”