DAVIE, Fla. — Mike Wallace knows the Baltimore Ravens well.
During Wallace’s four years with Pittsburgh, the Steelers played against division rival Baltimore twice annually.
The receiver will face the Ravens for the first time as a member of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. And unlike Wallace’s previous encounters with Baltimore, the Ravens will take the field as defending Super Bowl champions.
Did Baltimore’s Super status mean anything in terms of extra motivation?
“Not to me,” Wallace told FOX Sports Florida. “Maybe to some of my teammates, but to me it’s just another football game. Another team standing in the way to where we want to get, and that’s to the playoffs.”
Wallace and his teammates are thinking playoffs following a good start. A tough test at Sun Life Stadium stands between the Dolphins heading into their bye week 4-1 or 3-2.
“It’s definitely going to be a physical matchup,” Wallace said. “They’re a really good football team coming in. Consistent, sound football players who are well coached.
“Those guys are going to be in the right spots. They’ve got really good playmakers. We just have to be able to compete every single play and do the game plan. If we execute our game plan, I think we’ll be fine.”
Wallace hasn’t exactly emerged as the deep threat he had been expected to be when he signed with Miami as a free agent in March. Through four games, he has 15 catches — fourth on the team — for 176 yards and a touchdown.
That’s an 11.7 yard average for a guy signed to catch the long ball.
Earlier this week, Wallace told the Miami Herald he was “definitely worried” about his start because nobody would have assumed such numbers for him at this point of the season.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin didn’t sound overly concerned this week when asked about Wallace’s production and the receiver’s rapport with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
“I think that it’s still a work in progress, no question about it,” Philbin said. “I think (Wallace) is a factor every time he steps on the field, and I think that ultimately helps us as an offensive unit.”
In eight career games (including a playoff meeting) against Baltimore, Wallace has 34 catches for 446 yards and one touchdown. That averages out to 4.3 receptions for 55.8 yards.
But that was against a defense led by now-retired Ray Lewis. The Ravens currently rank 15th in the league in overall defense (345.8 ypg.) and 16th against the pass (239.0).
Following Friday’s practice, Wallace gave FOX Sports Florida a reason to think Sunday could be a break out day for No. 11.
“They play a lot more man-to-man coverage than they used to,” Wallace said. “We’ll see how that goes on Sunday. Hopefully, we can get some good match-ups, some good plays and execute ’em.”
Man-to-man coverage would bode well for Wallace, right?
“Hopefully,” he said with a chuckle. “We need to get it going. Some man-to-man coverage, that would be an excellent opportunity to get it going.”