Batch from the Dead: Steelers Rally Behind 3rd String QB for Stunning 23-20 Win Over Ravens

Still think Charlie Batch can’t get it done?

Think again.

Sunday in Baltimore, the Steelers, like an old prize fighter backed in the corner late in a fight, fought tooth and nail with a team that was supposed to dominate them, and in the end used a Shaun Suisham 42-yard field goal at the buzzer to beat the Ravens 23-20.

Batch outplayed the supposed “best QB in the NFL” in Joe Flacco, throwing 25-for-36 for 276 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He led the Steelers for 17 second half points, including 10 in the fourth quarter to clinch the win.

The game-winning drive started at the Steelers 15, and they went 12 plays and 61 yards to set up Suisham for the shot to end a long Ravens home winning streak. Which they did.

Baltimore had just two possessions in the fourth quarter, and with starting CB Ike Taylor on the bench most of the game with a bum ankle, they were only able to gain five yards on seven plays with a turnover by Flacco on a fumble.

Flacco went 16-for-34 for 188 yards with a touchdown and a pick. He also lost a fumble after a hit by James Harrison that gave the ball the Steelers in possession to score the game-tying TD on a pass from Batch to TE Heath Miller to make it 20 all.

The Steelers outgained the Ravens 366 to 288, and had a 34:21 to 25:39 time of possession advantage.

Things didn’t look good for the now 7-5 Steelers early, as they took an early 3-0 lead, but looked up late in the second quarter and trailed it 13-3 after Flacco threw a TD pass to Anquan Boldin from 28 yards out.

Batch led the team on a field goal drive to end the half, and then four minutes into the third Jonathan Dwyer rand for a 16-yard touchdown to tie the game at 13.

Ray Rice gave the Ravens a 20-13 lead with 4:50 left in the third after he broke off a 34-yard touchdown run, his longest run of the day.

In the end though, it was all Batch, all the time. He made some mistakes, but did just enough to get the Steelers the critical win they needed to break their two-game losing streak.

Next week the Steelers could possibly get Ben Roethlisberger back, and they will host the fading 4-8 San Diego Chargers at 1pm at Heinz Field.

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6 Responses to “Batch from the Dead: Steelers Rally Behind 3rd String QB for Stunning 23-20 Win Over Ravens”

  1. Steeler Mafia says:

    The ratbird rice should never have messed with the TOWEL!!!!

  2. Megalion says:

    Best QB in the League?? WHEN WAS HE EVER THAT????

    I know I’m biased but in all seriousness, when was he ever the equal or better than Big Ben? And Ben often didn’t get the credit he deserved though he was getting it this season for once up to his injury

  3. DrGeorge says:

    What a stunning victory against very long odds by a bunch of over-achievers. It may not quite qualify as a ‘miracle,’ but it was pretty close to one. Certainly it must rank as one of the best team victories in a long time, winning with a 3rd string QB behind a patchwork line. As late as the half, Matt Loede was holding firm to his prediction of a Ravens victory – and I agreed with him. The offense wasn’t playing well enough to win, and logic and home field advantage were on the Ravens side. But there is no calculus to measure the human will. The Steelers D kept bailing the offense out of major mistakes by the players and the coaching staff, and the offense with inadequate talent kept on doing their best. And in the end, it was enough.

    After last week’s loss, I wrote that the offensive coaches needed to get creative. They did. Haley deserves special credit for his reorganization of the O-line. Moving Pouncey to LG and letting Legursky play C was a stroke of genius, and it paid off big by maximizing the talents available. Legursky is a natural C, but an average LG at best. Pouncey can play both positions well. Smart move. At RT, Haley was forced to play Beachum, a rookie with a propensity for holding. Haley minimized that liability by having an RB double team with Beachum on most passing plays. And it worked well on passing downs. Another smart move. Even the QB play wasn’t as bad as it looked. Charlie only got sacked when he held the ball too long; he only threw interceptions when Haley asked him to do what his body can no longer do well.

    The offense still had serious problems: it couldn’t run the ball effectively when needed, largely because the O-line couldn’t make holes; it had three turnovers, two by Batch; and it was far from consistent and didn’t sustain long drives. But the offense held together, as a team, when things were not going well, and the RBs didn’t fumble. Before the game, I opined that the Ravens would test whether the offense can win big games without Ben R. By winning, the team gained more than a victory; they learned to play for each other, they gained confidence, and they validated the effectiveness of Haley’s offensive scheme without Ben.

    Notwithstanding Health Miller’s fabulous touchdown play and Batch’s last minute drive that produced the winning field goal, I would give the game ball to our D. Our defense played consistently well all day and made the victory possible by making up for the offense’s errors. LeBeau’s guys generated turnovers when needed and shut down the Ravens passing game most of the day. Cortez and Will Allen bring much needed to speed the secondary, and it shows. The pass rush is improving each game, even without Woodley, and the LBs are doing a much better job in short pass coverage. As I’ve written before, our Defensive front remains vulnerable to the run. The Ravens were making 8-10 yards a pop at one time. Why they stopped running wide eludes me. It was working for them. But I’m glad they did. This morning in Baltimore, the sports writers will be saying this is a game the Ravens should have won – and they will be right. Nonetheless, our D was a big part of why the Ravens lost.

    The Steelers have 4 more games to go. They need to win all four of them to be sure of making the playoffs, but winning 3 out of 4 will probably be good enough for a wild card this year, and 3 of those 4 games are at home. Getting Ben R. back at some point will help, but nothing short of better talent will solve the teams chronic deficiencies (which must be addressed after the season). However, for the moment, sheer will and effort are carrying the day. Now, we’ll see how far those qualities can carry this team. With this victory, it appears that we have turned the corner as a team.

  4. DS says:

    Well stated Dr. “G”

    Smart off season acquistions via free agecy and the draft are critical for Steeler success.

    Lastly, my vote is still squarely on the side of acquiring a more disciplined head coach. Lastly, I am near ropes end with Wallace as well. BTW, get Plex involved now.

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