Other teams are getting more headlines and publicity, but the Pittsburgh Steelers have been quietly going about their business this season to the tune of a 9-3 record. Once the early-season woes of the offensive line were corrected (to some degree), the Steelers have been able to play more consistently on offense while the defense has relied on its depth to play very well most weeks. Their two big play makers on the outside — Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown — help negate whatever other flaws the offense may lack up front. With two more touchdown catches against the Bengals this past Sunday, Mike Wallace now has eight scores on the year, and is now just 23 yards shy of 1,000 for the second consecutive year. Wallace joined ESPN Radio in Pittsburgh to talk about how he wouldn’t have gotten caught from behind like his fellow WR Antonio Brown did in the Steelers Week 13 win over the Bengals, how he wouldn’t say he’s more comfortable with the ball in his hands after the catch, only that he’s getting more opportunities to make plays after the catch this season, his nifty 19-yard catch and run for his second score of the game, his touchdown pose after his second score of the game, his thoughts on Antonio Brown’s scripted end zone routine (a dance called the Beanie Wiggle), if he and the Steelers other wide receivers lobby Ben Roethlisberger for the ball like Lynn Swann used to do to Terry Bradshaw, and the whole organization pulling for Hines Ward to eclipse the 1,000 receptions mark sometime soon this season.
How he’d compare Antonio Brown’s speed to his own:
“Man, listen. Antonio got caught yesterday on his long run. That would never happen to me.”
If he’d agree that he looks more comfortable running after the catch this year compared to his first two years in the league:
“I think it’s just your imagination. I’ve always felt comfortable with the ball in my hands. Naw, it’s just me being out there, getting more and more opportunities. And the more games you play, the more comfortable you’re going to feel, and the more things you feel you can do and try out there.”
On just barely avoiding taking a huge hit as he dashed across the goal line for his second score of the game that gave the Steelers a 28-point lead in the 3rd quarter:
“Yeah I was about to dive in, but when I saw how fast he was coming in, I thought I better not do anything crazy when I knew I could score anyways.”
On his pose in the end zone after his second of two touchdowns in Week 13:
“It’s just a shout out to my boy, The Bull.”
Does he prefer the pose over the dance when celebrating a touchdown?
“I just do a little bit of everything. Sometimes you’re just so happy when you get there, you just react, you don’t really think. Antonio, he’s got his dance all planned out, so he’s going to do that all the time.”
Does he find Antonio Brown’s touchdown dance to be goofy?
“No, I like it. He’s just doing his thing. If he likes it, I like it. I just like him getting in the end zone. It’s hard work getting into the end zone, so whatever he feels he wants to do when he gets there, I’m all for it.
Is it called The Penguin?
“Nah, it’s the Beanie Wiggle. Chest up, eyes up, straight up. Y’all don’t like his dance? I think he’s got a great dance.”
Do the wide receivers work Big Ben like Lynn Swann used to do in the huddle with Terry Bradshaw:
“You know, we’re always going to put our little input in, but Ben is a guy who’s always going to throw the ball to the guy it needs to go to. I don’t think he really picks favorites in picking a certain guy, I think he just goes to wherever he feels he has the matchup that he wants and the coverage that he wants. But yeah most definitely, I’m always telling him I’m open on this and I’m open on that all the time. And I’m pretty sure Antonio does it too when I’m not around. So I know he backdoors me some time.”
On wanting his mentor Hines Ward to get the ten catches he needs to get to 1,000 career receptions:
“Oh yeah, man, you know everybody around here wants him to do it. The whole team, the whole training staff, all of the organization — they just want him to get it. I don’t see why it would be a problem for him to get it. I think he’ll do it and I think we’ll see him on the big screen again.”