Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd Fox
December 2, 2012
If Charlie Batch can do this to the Ravens, the next month might not be pretty.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch was pretty emotional after beating the Ravens, 23-20, on Sunday, and why not? Batch, who will turn 38 on Wednesday, played poorly in Pittsburgh's loss to the Cleveland Browns last weekend, and he redeemed himself by picking apart the Ravens secondary in the second half. After Shaun Suisham's kick sealed the win, Batch cried on Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder before exiting the field. He pulled himself together in time for his post-game press conference, where he was asked about the possibility of Sunday's game being his last start in the NFL. And it very well could be. With Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich expected to return from their injuries soon, Batch could be back in a sweat suit as Pittsburgh's third-string quarterback as early as this upcoming weekend.
Which brings me to my point. The Ravens lost to a third-string quarterback Sunday -- and in their house, too -- in a performance that probably made at least a few of their frustrated defenders want to cry. The Baltimore defense had been playing much better as of late, but the Ravens allowed 10 points in the final quarter as the Steelers came from 10 points down to beat them at the buzzer. The Ravens sacked Batch twice and hit him hard on a couple of other plays, but too often he had time to stand around in the pocket or scramble out of it before getting rid of the ball. The Ravens simply couldn't generate enough pressure on Batch, even though the Steelers started a rookie (Kelvin Beachum) at right tackle, their Pro Bowl center (Maurkice Pouncey) at left guard and some guy named Doug Legursky (Doug Legursky) at center. With so much time to scan the field and wait for one of his many talented receivers to get open, Batch completed 25 of 36 attempts for 276 yards and a touchdown. He did most of that damage after halftime, completing 16 of his 20 throws for 219 yards. Did I mention Batch's 38th birthday is this week?
So what's going to happen in the next few weeks, especially if Terrell Suggs were to be sidelined with an arm injury? The Ravens this weekend renew their once-every-four-years rivalry with the Washington Redskins, who have electric rookie Robert Griffin III and his 104.6 passer rating under center. Then they host longtime nemesis Peyton Manning, who has passed the Denver Broncos to seven straight wins. Up next after that is Eli Manning and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants followed by the Cincinnati Bengals, who have one of the NFL's most dangerous duos in quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green. If Pittsburgh's makeshift offensive line could give Chuck Batch enough time to take a long bath in the fountain of youth Sunday, just imagine what the four first-string quarterbacks I just mentioned might do if the Ravens can't quickly find solutions for what ailed them in Sunday's loss.