Enough is enough. We can't see another play of Levi Wallace out there on defense for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Following their bye week and with the rest of the AFC North looking strong, Mike Tomlin's team is looking for a hot start against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 7. But like he typically does, Wallace gave up a couple of crucial plays that led to points.
Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford were not oblivious to where the best matchup would be. From the very first drive in the game, the Rams were looking to target Levi Wallace. Fortunately for the Steelers cornerback, Cooper Kupp opened the game with back-to-back dropped passes (something that is very out of the norm for the All-Pro receiver).
Ultimately, it didn't matter. LA still found a way to exploit the biggest weakness on the Steelers defense. Just before halftime, Wallace was dusted off the line of scrimmage by Puka Nacua. The impressive rookie receiver ran a drag route across the face of Wallace and took it for a big gain -- largely because of Wallace's lack of recovery speed.
Quickly after this play, Wallace gave up a massive 31-yard touchdown catch to Tutu Atwell. By the end of this play, Wallace wasn't even close to making a play on the ball and Atwell was able to walk in for an easy score.
Steelers must make a switch at right cornerback
Early in Week 7, Joey Porter Jr. has been more involved than he normally is on defense. However, when Porter sees the field, it's at left cornerback (typically kicking veteran CB Patrick Peterson to the slot). Now the Steelers need to seriously consider benching Wallace despite no quality option in place.
Already through Pittsburgh's first five games of the year, Wallace has been responsible for allowing for allowing over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in coverage, per Pro Football Reference. This number could have looked far worse as well, as Wallace nearly gave up some huge plays in Week 5 against the Ravens if not for numerous botched opportunities by Baltimore's receivers.
Now the unspectacular cornerback has already surrendered 4 touchdowns and nearly 400 yards in five and a half games so far in 2023. The results are every bit as bad as the advanced stats from PFR would suggest.
I don't care what the alternative is at this point. Could a player like James Pierre really perform much worse than what we've seen from Wallace so far? Cornerback remains a huge need for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and even if Joey Porter proves to be great, they will still need to find a long-term replacement opposite him. Let's hope Mike Tomlin finally realizes this.