Mike Wallace's "breakout" this season came with a caveat.
Wallace scored his first touchdown and registered his first multi-catch game of the year in Sunday's 26-9 loss to the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
But he was left kicking himself for dropping what would have been the Ravens' longest completion of the season in terms of distance the pass traveled in the air.
Wallace steaked down the left sideline and found himself wide open for what would have been at least a 30-yard gain. It came with the Ravens trailing, 3-0, near the start of the second quarter. The Ravens had a first-and-10 from their own 10-yard line.
There's a chance that the explosive Wallace could have scored on the play. Instead, the Ravens ended up going three-and-out.
"I kind of let them off the hook early on a big play, when I was trying to run too fast without the ball," Wallace said after the game.
"You've got to bring those in. That could have been a play, at the start of the game, that could have gotten things going in our direction. Everybody has to do better, but myself to begin with. I have to be better."
The play happened on the Steelers sideline, right in front of Wallace's old team. He had to trudge all the way across the field and back to the Ravens sideline afterward.
But Wallace kept his head in the game and turned in his best individual performance yet of the season. The Ravens struggled to get their wide receivers involved in the first quarter of the year, but it could be a sign of good things to come.
Wallace finished the game with six catches for 55 yards and a 16-yard touchdown. He had notched just three catches for 21 yards in the previous three games combined.
"I think we've always had chemistry, me and Joe," Wallace said. "It's just a matter of getting the opportunities. I just have to be positive, stay into the game and make plays when they come my way."
Wallace's touchdown catch in the third quarter was a combination of a great throw and great catch. Flacco saw the Steelers in zone coverage and fired the pass between two defenders in an extremely tight window.
The pass was a bit behind Wallace, but he reached back across his body to bring it in, despite the traffic diving in front of him.
"I had to concentrate on that one," Wallace said. "It was the only place he could put it. He threw the ball perfectly, I made the adjustment, and it was a touchdown."
Despite his slow start this season, Wallace said his confidence is unchanged. He said he can still make a play on anybody, and he doesn't think there's a player in the league that can stop him. Now he and the offense have to do more of it.
"With the talent that we have on offense, it's crazy," Wallace said. "We have so many players and so many weapons – we're just not making plays. We just have to find a way. … I know that we will. I'm more than confident that we will."