Last March when he was the hottest name at his position on the free agent market, wide receiver
Wallace had proven to be a dangerous deep threat during his first four seasons in the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers and put his speed and separation skills on display early and often in training camp. By season’s end he had reeled in 73 passes for 930 yards and five touchdowns, a little below his expectations but just 70 yards shy of joining teammate
Four times over the 16-game regular season Wallace went over 100 receiving yards, with the first one coming in Week 2 at the Indianapolis Colts. He tied a career-high that afternoon in receptions with nine for 115 yards and a touchdown in Miami’s 24-20 win at Lucas Oil Stadium and came back with seven catches for 105 yards, including a 49-yarder, three weeks later in a 26-23 loss to Baltimore.
But Wallace’s biggest day from a production standpoint was at Sun Life Stadium in Week 12 against the Carolina Panthers when he caught five passes for 127 yards and a touchdown with a long of 57 yards. His final 100-yard performance came against the New England Patriots in a Week 15 victory when he and Tannehill connected six times for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Even though the Dolphins missed the playoffs and Wallace and Tannehill didn’t have quite the number of deep ball connections as either of them would have liked, the two developed a better chemistry as the season progressed. Both players are looking forward to an active offseason during which they plan to work on their timing and try to come up with some more wrinkles for next season.
Though he did come up with a few longer receptions during the season, Wallace’s 39-yard touchdown catch at the end of the first half against the Patriots was his most memorable because of the situation. Miami was down 10-0 in a pivotal game with playoff implications when he ran a shallow square in on 3rd-and-2, giving Tannehill a perfect target.
Wallace caught the pass in stride at the 24, shed the tackle of Patriots cornerback Maurquice Cole and ran away from safety Steve Gregory into the end zone with 32 seconds left to make it a 10-7 ballgame. That play showed off his improved route running, concentration and breakaway speed all in one sequence and gave the Dolphins momentum heading into the locker room. They wound up winning the game, 24-20, for their third straight in December to improve to 8-6.
Wallace set a career-high in receptions with 73, which was the third most by a player in his first season with the Dolphins behind Brandon Marshall’s 86 in 2010 and Terry Kirby’s 75 in his rookie season in 1993. His 930 receiving yards also were the third most by a first-year Dolphin behind Marshall’s 1,014 in 2010 and Irving Fryar’s 1,010 back in 1993.
“He has been a great addition. He is a fun guy. He is a fun guy to have on the ball club. I think he has acclimated himself well in the locker room. I think he is well respected by his teammates. He likes his teammates. It doesn’t matter what profession you are in, if you are a coach, a player or general manager, a journalist; it’s good to work with people you enjoy being with on a regular basis. I am happy about the chemistry he has found here. I think it’s been good. … He has been a good asset to the team.” – Head Coach Joe Philbin
“It’s easy to play with Mike. He wants to win, he wants to be even better, he wants to be a staple down her for a while and he wants to win football games. Anytime you’ve got someone like that and he works hard, anytime you’ve got those kinds of characteristics it’s pretty easy to get along with. He’s easy to talk to, he wants to work, he wants to be good, he wants to win, so the rest is kind of white noise in a way. He’s a fast guy, he’s got rare capabilities and I’m out of his running class. He’s definitely a rare talent, a rare breed and he knows how to expose it.” – wide receiver Brian Hartline