It was obvious last week the Carolina Panthers had no idea how to stop Dolphins reciever Mike Wallace. He was open short, deep, intermediate. He scored one touchdown on a 57-yard catch but he might have had three other TDs if passes had caught him in stride or he'd made some tough catches.
It was a classic mismatch.
This weekend when the Dolphins face the New York Jets, there should be less of a mismatch available to Wallace because it should be Antonio Cromartie shadowing him all over the MetLife Stadium field.
If Cromartie, who is nursing a hip injury, plays, then New York's finest cornerback will be locked up on Wallace.
(Yes, it's possible the Jets might decide to play Cromartie in man against No. 2 WR Brian Hartline and then double and roll coverages to Wallace).
But that would be unexpected.
And if this matchup plays out as expected -- as Wallace surely expects it will -- the key might be gaining the upper hand early and making the Jets loud cornerback something of a mute.
"He's a smart guy. He talks a lot," Wallace said. "He's going to try to get in your head so you just got to make plays and shut him up. Shut him up early, I think it'll be a long day for him."
Ah yes, but the battle of words is fought with a two-edged sword. If Wallace makes plays early and shuts up Cromartie, apparently taking some of his swag in the process, then the Dolphins receiver has the edge.
But if Wallace can't make plays early in the game, Cromartie's chirping will get louder. The cornerback's confidence will grow -- perhaps in conjunction with Wallace's frustration. And then?
"If not, it could the other way around. It'll be a long day for you," Wallace admits. "You just got to try to make plays and stay into the game and not get caught up in the extra stuff with him. I know he's going to talk. At the same time, he's a guy who can talk and back it up so I'm not going to take anything away from him."
It is hard to take anything away from Cromartie (except maybe a child support check) because he is a physical freak.
"He's a tall, long, rangey guy who even though he's that big, he likes to shadow and just play full speed," Wallace said.
Wallace played against the Jets last season when he was with the Steelers. He caught five passes for 74 yards and a touchdown.
A repeat of that kind of day might be considered something of a win by the Dolphins.