In four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Wallace had already developed a healthy respect and admiration for Joe Flacco.
In fact, Wallace said in March that the strong-armed Flacco was one of the major reasons he signed with the Ravens.
But on Sunday at Cleveland, Wallace saw another side of Flacco – the cool, unflappable, tough competitor who won’t be ruffled by a disastrous start.
After the stunned Ravens fell behind 20-0 in the first 11 minutes – aided by an interception thrown by Flacco – the Ravens rallied to beat the Browns, 25-20, thanks in large part to two touchdown throws from Flacco to Wallace.
“I honestly have probably never been around anyone as cool as Joe,” Wallace said after Sunday’s game. “Just the way he reacts to situations. He’s like, ‘Whatever. We’re down 20-0. Whatever.’ "
“It’s the way he makes you think, like, ‘It’s no problem.’ "
Two weeks into the season, Wallace is looking like he could be one of the major free-agent signings in the league this offseason. In two games, he has seven catches for 132 yards and has scored all three Ravens touchdowns.
In signing with the Ravens in March, Wallace said, “I was like, ‘I need a good quarterback. I need a quarterback who I know is proven, who can get things done,” which many took as a swipe at Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. In his one season with the Vikings, Wallace had career lows for catches (39), receiving yards (473) and touchdown catches (2), a total he has surpassed in two games with the Ravens.
Wallace also said after Sunday’s game that he not only admires Flacco’s cool demeanor but also his toughness. Flacco has been pounded in the first two games, sacked a total of four times and hit 14 times. He was not sacked at Cleveland but was hit five times.
“When you have a quarterback who’s supposed to be fragile, he just came off an ACL, and he’s gonna sit in there and take shots," Wallace said, "who am I not to go and make a play?”