Batch aces second chance

BALTIMORE – Charlie Batch knew he'd have to play better than he had in Cleveland.

His steadfast belief that he could and that he would was what had Batch longing for the chance to do so against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium.

"I've been in this league for 15 years," Batch reminded the media after quarterbacking the Steelers to an improbable, come-from-behind, 23-20 triumph. "I've been a starter in the league.

"One thing that you can't do is dwell on the past. No matter what, all you can ask for is another opportunity. I was very appreciative that Coach (Mike) Tomlin) gave me that opportunity."

Batch made the most of it by completing 25 of 36 passes for 276 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. It was the most passing yards for Batch since he threw for 436 for Detroit on Nov. 18, 2001 at Arizona.

His numbers in the second half, during which the Steelers rallied from a 13-6 deficit, included 16 completions on 20 attempts for 219 of his passing yards.

Batch's stats on the Steelers' final two possessions of the game – a four-play, 27-yard march to the touchdown that tied things up at 20-20, and a 12-play, 61-yard matriculation down the field that ended with Shaun Suisham's last-play, game-winning field goal – were a perfect 8-for-8 for 72 yards and a touchdown.

The interception Batch threw in the Ravens' end zone with just over 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter turned out to be the last play Batch didn't make.

"This is big," Batch said. "To do something that nobody outside our locker room thought we could do, this is big. I wanted this opportunity because I had played poorly (on Nov. 25 in Cleveland). I wanted an opportunity to come out and prove it and lead this team. I knew going into it I had to play better. The receivers did a great job getting open. The offensive line did a great job protecting.

"I was able to set my feet and just go out there and play ball and have fun."

Batch's most unlikely contribution may have been the block he threw after getting out in front of running back Jonathan Dwyer on what became a 16-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 13-13 early in the third quarter.

Batch saved his most clutch throws for the drive on which the Steelers closed out the game as regulation time was expiring.

The Steelers took over at their 15-yard line with 6:14 left in the fourth quarter.

Batch's 5-for-5 effort on the drive included a 15-yard completion to wide receiver Mike Wallace that converted a third-and-7 from the Pittsburgh 18-yard line, a 9-yard completion to wide receiver Antonio Brown that moved the chains on second-and-6 from the Steelers' 47-yard line, and a 10-yard hookup with Wallace that, coupled with a tacked-on, 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer, positioned Suisham to end it.

"We talked about a 60-minute game," said Batch, who improved to 6-3 as a starter for the Steelers. "The way this series goes it's always whoever has the ball last pretty much wins.

"We didn't want to put our defense back on the field."

That's where Batch had wanted to be all along.

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