Mike Wallace (and Antonio Brown) Watch: Excellence of Steelers' Dyanmic Wide Receiving Duo Continues in Week 13

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04: Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his second quarter touchdown reception with Ben Roethlisberger #7 while playing the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on December 4, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 35-7. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

I started this exercise way back in September, so no sense in quitting now. You maybe have noticed that I've included more and more WR stats across the NFL as Mike Wallace's numbers have gradually tapered off this season. Against the Bengals though this past Sunday, Wallace made up for a two-drop performance the previous Sunday night against the Chiefs by hauling in two touchdowns in Pittsburgh's 35-7 blitzkrieg of Cincinnati. We'll break down Wallace's two scores with pictures perhaps later, or sometime this offseason at the latest, but the second of two touchdowns -- a 19-yard catch and run on a quick bubble screen outside was pretty remarkable really.

Here's No. 17's numbers through 12 games, followed by where he and Antonio Brown stack up with their WR peers around the NFL.

Mike Wallace Weekly 2011 Game Logs

Game
Receptions
Yards
Yards/Catch
TDs
Week 1 @ BAL 8 107 13.38 0
Week 2 vs SEA 8 126 15.75 1
Week 3 @ IND 5 144 28.8 1
Week 4 @ HOU 4 77 19.25 0
Week 5 vs TEN 6 82 13.66 1
Week 6 vs JAX 2 76 38.00 1
Week 7 @ ARI 3 118 39.33 1
Week 8 vs NE 7 70 10.00 1
Week 9 vs BAL 4 68 16.5 0
Week 10 @ CIN 6 54 9.0 0
Week 11 Bye ------ ------ ------ ------
Week 12 @ KC 2
7
8.5 0
Week 13 vs CIN 3 38 12.67
2

SEASON TOTALS
58 977 16.8 8

ON PACE FOR:
70-71 1,302 16.8 10-11

Wallace vs. A. Brown Comparison
Receptions
Yards
Yards/Catch
TDs
M.Wallace Last 6 Games 25 355 14.2 4
A. Brown Last 6 Games 32 512 16.0 1
A. Brown Season Total
50 774 15.5 1
A. Brown On Pace For
66-67 1,032 15.5 1-2

As you can see, Brown's really been every bit as good this past six weeks. Brown still hasn't been much of a redzone threat, but perhaps that will come in due time if the Steelers continue to capitalize more efficiently inside the opponents' 20 like they did against Cincinnati on Sunday. Outside of the TDs though, Brown's really been the guy in the passing game for Ben Roethlisberger. I'll need to double-check this, but my hunch is that his catch rate is as good as, if not better than Wallace's, particularly this past two months.

He's averaging more than five catches


2011 WR Leaders (through Week 13)

Receptions (WRs and TEs only):

  1. Wes Welker -- 93
  2. Jimmy Graham -- 75
  3. Calvin Johnson -- 69
  4. Roddy White -- 68
  5. Tony Gonzalez -- 66
  6. Rob Gronkowski, Greg Jennings -- 65
  7. Brandon Marshall -- 63
  8. Victor Cruz -- 62
  9. Steve Smith, Jason Witten -- 61
  • Mike Wallace -- 58
  • Antonio Brown -- 50

Thoughts: It's a one-man show at this point, and the only real drama is whether Welker is going to make a run at the single-season record of 143 set by Marvin Harrison in 2002. Not likely considering Welker is 50 shy with only four games remaining. Don't think an 18-20 reception game is out of the question though in, say, Week 17 against the Bills when there's almost certainly going to be lots still at stake for New England in terms of playoff positioning. Hopefully the Steelers duo will finish strongly and both surpass the 75-catch and 1,000 yard plateaus.

Receiving Yards:

  • Wes Welker -- 1,253
  • Steve Smith, Calvin Johnson -- 1.092
  • Victor Cruz -- 1,076
  • Jimmy Graham -- 1,046
  • Mike Wallace -- 977
  • Larry Fitzgerald -- 943
  • Greg Jennings -- 929
  • Rob Gronkowski -- 928

Thoughts: As each week goes by, Jerry Rice's 1,848 yard season in 1995 seems that much more extraordinary to me. Welker is tearing it up -- averaging over 104 yards per game. If he were to continue that pace and register another 416 yards in the last four weeks, he'd still be 178 yards shy of Rice's mark. One more big outing from Wallace at any point probably locks up his top-five standing for the year in this department.

Yards per Reception (minimum 20 receptions):

Thoughts: This is the category that I really care about. If Wallace can inch past Steve Smith by season's end, he'll have led the league in yards/reception for the second time in three seasons. In 2010, Wallace slacked off and merely finished 2nd a shade behind DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia. With the Panthers likely to be playing from behind frequently, and Cam Newton already having proven he's willing to look Smith's way regardless of the coverage, it's unlikely that Wallace will be able to keep pace. But who knows, maybe those factors will actually hurt Smith if he has too many balls thrown his way as compared to Wallace, who almost certainly will only have his number called six to ten times per game most weeks.

Receiving Touchdowns:

  • Rob Grankowski -- 13
  • Calvin Johnson -- 12
  • Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson -- 9
  • Mike Wallace, Erick Decker, Vincent Jackson, Jimmy Graham, Wes Welker --8
  • Six players -- 6

Thoughts: What a streak Rob Gronkowski is on. One of two Patriots tight ends at Tom Brady's disposal, Gronkowski has a touchdown catch in each of his last five games, and in three of those he had two TDs giving him 8 in five weeks. I wonder what it's going to take for agents to woo him the next time Gronkowski decides he'd like different representation. Wallace meanwhile stays in the top five by hauling in two scores against the Bengals.

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