By Teresa Varley
Coach Mike Tomlin preaches about taking advantage of opportunities and there probably wasn't anyone who did that more on Sunday in the Steelers 37-36 win over the Green Bay Packers than rookie Mike Wallace.
Wallace had only two receptions in the game, but made them count as both were touchdown grabs, including a game-winner with no time left on the clock.
"He made plays when given the opportunity, not that he's had a bunch of opportunities and sometimes, it's like that," said Tomlin. "It's about what you do with them when you get them. He played big. He played older than a rookie for us today which was needed."
Wallace caught a 60-yard touchdown on the Steelers first offensive play, giving the team an early 7-0 lead and breathing energy into Heinz Field.
"I was just hoping they were in man coverage," said Wallace. "When we came out, I saw one safety in the middle of the field and I kind of had a feeling that Ben (Roethlisberger) was going to throw me the ball. I just tried to make a good play on it."
It was a long wait, though, for his next catch. But it was well worth the wait. With time running out, Roethlisberger found Wallace in the end zone and he made an amazing tip-toe catch to give the Steelers the win.
"I just saw the ball," said Wallace. "I was hoping the ball hadn't gotten there before I turned around. Ben put it in the only spot where I could catch it."
The officials reviewed the play, something that is a given under two minutes, but Wallace knew all along the touchdown was good.
"Once I caught the ball, I knew I was in," said Wallace. "I had no doubt in my mind that I was in. It was just making sure that I held onto the ball. I looked at the referee. I knew he couldn't overturn it because I knew I dragged my feet. We practice that every day in practice."
But no matter how much it's practiced, when that play comes with the game on the line, it's something special.
"You dream of things like this all the time," said Wallace. "Before a game, I always see myself making plays in my head. For it to come true like that is great."