BALTIMORE (93-7 THE FAN) — A 15-year veteran quarterback enjoyed perhaps his greatest 15 minutes of fame at the most opportune time for the Steelers (7-5), who improbably strengthened their playoff hopes with a 23-20 upset of the Ravens (9-3) Sunday.
Third-stringer Charlie Batch was understandably emotional on the sideline after completing 25 of 36 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown and watching Shaun Suisham kick a walk-off 42-yard field goal as time expired.
“This is big. This is another opportunity for me to come out here and have the opportunity to start, which is rare right now. I don’t know how long Ben is going to be out, but to be able to go out and do something no one outside our locker room thought we could do…this is big,” Batch told 93.7 The Fan after the Steelers handed the Ravens their first loss at M&T Bank Stadium since bowing to Pittsburgh Dec. 5, 2010.
If Roethlisberger does return against San Diego next Sunday and finish the season, and if it is, ultimately, Batch’s swan song, he couldn’t have ended a much higher note.
Not only did he outplay young counterpart Joe Flacco, who was trying to lead the Ravens to an unprecedented fourth straight victory over the Steelers, but under his command, a previously punch-less offense out-gained Baltimore, 366-288, and controlled the ball for nearly nine minutes longer.
He was only sacked twice–one of them a coverage sack–thanks to a Herculean effort from a makeshift O-line that included Doug Legursky at center and Maurkice Pouncey playing guard for the first time since his teen years.
“They played phenomenal,” Batch remarked. “There were a couple plays where I held onto the ball a lot longer than what I should have, which created those sacks, but throughout the entire game, they were able to go out there and keep me clean for the majority of the day.”
He offered his own perspective on one of his most critical plays, a game-tying touchdown pass to Heath Miller after the teams exchanged turnovers, capped off by an athletic stretch by the tight end:
No decision will be made on next weekend’s starting QB until later this week.
The Steelers will meet the Chargers (4-8), losers at home to Cincinnati (7-5) Sunday, at Heinz Field next Sunday at 1:00.