Charlie Batch leaves a lasting impression in Steelers’ victory

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Charlie Batch couldn’t have written a better ending.

If Sunday was the last time the Pittsburgh Steelers third-string quarterback starts an NFL game, that’s the way to go out.

Not with an embarrassing, three-interception performance in a loss to one of the worse teams in the league, like the one Batch turned in the previous week against the Cleveland Browns. But with a gutsy, emotional win over one of the NFL’s best, like the one Batch and the Steelers pulled off against the Baltimore Ravens this week.

Batch certainly wasn’t perfect. He overthrew a wide-open Mike Wallace on what would have been an easy touchdown and was picked off by Baltimore’s Ed Reed in the end zone.


But it was nothing like the Browns game. Batch appeared to be in control of the offense and showed why the Steelers have kept him around for so long (11 years as a backup after four as the Detroit Lions’ starter). He threw the key block on Jonathan Dwyer’s 16-yard touchdown in the third quarter and helped Pittsburgh capitalize on a fumble by Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller in the fourth quarter.

That touchdown pass, Batch’s first in more than two seasons, helped the Steelers tie the game at 20-20 midway through the fourth quarter. But there was still work to be done, and Batch was up to the task. He led the team on a drive that consumed the final 6:14 of the game and ended in a game-winning, 42-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham.

After the win, which kept the Steelers (7-5) very much in the thick of the AFC wild card race, Batch could be seen sobbing as he embraced starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and members of the coaching staff. Roethlisberger likely will return next week from the shoulder/rib injury that kept him out of the past three games, and Batch’s career may be over at the end of the season.

“You put your heart and soul into it,” said Batch, who completed 25 of 36 passes for 276 yards. “You try to leave everything out on the field.”

Mission accomplished.


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