It took one game for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace to go from prized acquisition of the offseason to moody diva upset over not getting the ball enough. On a day that saw the Dolphins beat the Cleveland Browns, with Brian Hartline pulling in nine passes for 114 yards and a touchdown and Brandon Gibson adding seven receptions for 77 yards, Wallace's one catch for 15 yards stuck out at the end of Sunday's game.
And, Wallace was clearly aware of the disparity.
"I don't want to talk. I don't feel like talking about it," Wallace told Miami Herald reporters as they approached him after the game. When asked why he was not involved much in the first half, and if it was a deliberate decision to target him early in the second half, the former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver added, "Ask Coach. It's not my game plan."
As the team celebrated the win, Wallace spent time with General Manager Jeff Ireland, clearly bothered by the lack of production. Part of the reason Miami signed Wallace this free agency period was for the attention he would draw, freeing up other receivers. That's exactly what he did Sunday.
"It's frustrating for Mike," quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who finished 24-for-38 for 272 yards and the Hartline touchdown, explained in his post game remarks. He then referenced his time at Texas A&M as a receiver. "I've been there, playing receiver back in the day, when they take you away. It's frustrating. But, by them taking him away, it really opened up Gibson, Hartline, and even [Charles] Clay, so frustrating for Mike, but at the same time, it opened up some other things for us."
Clay recorded five receptions for 54 yards Sunday.
"I thought the ball went to the right place the vast majority of the time based on the coverages that we got," Head Coach Joe Philbin explained during his media availability.
"We're going to get him the ball," Tannehill added about the future for Wallace. "They did a good job of taking him away, but we're going to find ways to get him the ball.
"I think they did a lot of things to take him away. They clouded him and put a guy over the top. It's frustrating for him and our offense, as well. We want to give him the ball, and he's going to play a big factor in this offense the rest of the year. Today just wasn't the day for him."
Hopefully, by the time the plane landed in Miami, Wallace was ready to put Sunday behind him and move on to the next day. This will be talked about in the media all week, but it's a matter of keeping it there, and not on the practice field this week, because when the receptions do start to come, Wallace will be a major part of the Miami offensive success this season.
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