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Mike Wallace: '“It’s definitely time to bring these guys back down to reality a little bit"

Words from Steelers Pro Bowl receiver sets the tone for the recent shift in the Steelers/Ravens rivalry

Gregory Shamus

It wasn't long ago Antonio Brown caught his famous Third And Nineteen pass from Ben Roethlisberger, setting up the Steelers' final score in a come-from-behind playoff win. The Steelers would go on to the Super Bowl that year while Baltimore prepared for the eventual re-match.

That loss, one that frankly the Ravens should have been able to prevent, spurred the zone running we see from Baltimore now. It inspired the drafting of Mike Wallace Clone Torrey Smith.

The Ravens built their team to compete with the Older Brother of the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both the dominant kids in a neighborhood of orangeish Ohioans, the Younger Brother Ravens needed a way to assert themselves as contenders. They did, with two victories over the Steelers in 2011, but still failed to reach the Super Bowl they feel they're inches away from attending.

It's obviously working. The Ravens have won 11 consecutive AFC North games.

It appears Wallace is tired of this trend.

He spoke with Tribune-Review reporter Joe Starkey recently, and quoted Wallace as saying, "It's definitely time to bring these guys back down to reality a little bit. "They've been riding high in the AFC North. We gotta take over. We gotta let them know this is our division."

The Steelers were 12-4 last season, but the two losses to the Younger Brothers made it feel more like 9-7. A beaten up Steelers squad could really have used that week off in the playoffs, getting a chance to rest, and not have three starters (Casey Hampton, Brett Keisel and Max Starks) go down with injuries while playing in Denver - a place starting free safety and 2011 Pro Bowl participant Ryan Clark can't play.

More than anything, the Ravens at Steelers game in 2011 signified the difference between success and failure. Wallace's words speak of regaining that edge. While these teams will play again in Baltimore in two weeks from today, this game takes on so much more weight - almost as much as the second game they played last season.