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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Steelers Never Gave Batch A Chance

Give Charlie Batch A Chance To Win Steelers

All last week Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had one message for his team: make things easy for 37-year-old third-string quarterback Charlie Batch. Something must have gotten lost in translation because instead of taking care of Batch, the Steelers never gave him a chance. Not only did they lose the ball five times on fumbles, but without a running game Batch threw three interceptions as the Browns beat the Steelers, 20-14. Mike Wallace had just one catch against the Browns and couldn't hold onto a pass that turned into one of Batch's three interceptions. "Coach kept saying be quarterback friendly the whole week," said safety Ryan Clark. "He wanted to find ways to help him."

The Pittsburgh Steelers came to Cleveland with four running backs and all of them lost fumbles to a hard-hitting defense. It started with Rashard Mendenhall's fumble in the first quarter. After Mendenhall fumbled, Isaac Redman did the same on the Steelers' 19 in the second quarter. Jonathan Dwyer kept the ball bouncing with another fumble in the second quarter. Chris Rainey added the fourth late in the fourth quarter. Batch, however, was intercepted by Sheldon Brown midway through the third quarter. The Browns turned it into another touchdown for a 20-14 lead. In all, the Steelers turned the ball over eight times.

The Steelers still managed to keep the game close despite those turnovers and the penalties. They had 10 penalties for 90 yards. Flags routinely put the Steelers in terrible field position, wiped out long gains or forced the struggling Batch to throw the ball down the field into coverage.   Miraculously, the Browns only scored 17 points off the turnovers. The Cleveland Browns turned Mendenhall and Redman's fumbles into 10 points. Here's what happened following the Steelers' eight giveaways: four punts, two touchdowns, one field goal and one turnover that ended the game.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Steelers Almost Beat Ravens With Wounded Back-Up

Injured Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich

     Less than a minute into the game, the Pittsbugh Steelers' Byron Leftwich rolled right on a pass play, then took off up the right sideline. Leftwich fell awkwardly as he stumbled across the goal line and grabbed for his right shoulder. This would be the only offensive touchdown of the game. The Steelers scored only 3 more points on a field goal to lose 13-10 to the Baltimore Ravens.

     Baltimore's offense did next to nothing. Ray Rice managed a only 40 yards on 20 carries. The Ravens only had 200 yards of offense to the Steelers 311. Joe Flacco struggled in the passing game  throwing for just 164 yard to an injured Byron Leftwich's 201 yards. The Ravens’ six points on offense came off two Pittsburgh turnovers. Pittsburgh’s second punt was returned for a touchdown adding 7 more.
     Pittsburgh had its chances, including two forced drops on the final drive of the game. In fact, the Steelers came within inches of taking a lead late in the third quarter, when Leftwich and Mike Wallace narrowly missed on a touchdown. You could tell Leftwich was injured, but they kept sending him out there. The injury appeared to limit Leftwich, as he missed badly on several throws late in the game. He was seen wincing and grabbing his ribs  multiple times.

     Leftwich reportedly injured his ribs during the first quarter on Sunday, but still played the rest of the game. He fractured two ribs on Sunday and will now miss Pittsburgh's next game, according to a report from the Associated Press. With Leftwich out and Roethlisberger's status still unknown, the next man up is Charlie Batch.

     The Steelers (6-4) will likely start 37-year-old backup Charlie Batch when they face the (2-8) Cleveland Browns next. It will be Batch's first start since the 2011 season. Batch is 5-2 as a substitute starter over the past decade . Byron Leftwich hasn't won an NFL game since 2006. What they gain with Batch is a better game manager and a proven track record.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Batch Of Reasons The Steelers Should Start Charlie

Pittsburgh Steelers Charlie Batch

      Ben Roethlisberger suffered a sprained shoulder and a dislocated rib in Monday night's win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He was replaced by backup Byron Leftwich, who played all but one series in the second half and managed the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 16-13 overtime victory. He completed 7 of 14 passes for 73 yards Monday night and was hit nearly every time he dropped back. If he starts for the Steelers Sunday night, it will be his first start since week 3 of the 2009 season when he was with the Buccaneers.

      That brings this question to mind: Who is the best choice to replace Big Ben at quarterback? Leftwich or Batch. Yes, Batch is 37 and slightly more durable than Byron. But he's also done well in replacement duty during his 10 years with the Steelers. Charlie went 2-1 in 2010 while Roethlisberger served a four-game suspension. The 1 loss was because the defense allowed the Baltimore Ravens to score on a late fourth quarter drive.

      Back in 2005, Batch started twice for Roethlisberger and went 2-0 with wins over the Packers and Browns.Over all, Batch is 5-2 and more than that, his style is a better fit for this new-look Steelers offense under Todd Haley. When you compare Batch to Leftwich, several things stick out. For starters, Batch has better touch on the now-favored short and intermediate routes. And although he doesn't possess Leftwich's cannon, he can air it out when he has to.

      Maybe most importantly, Batch doesn't look like he's wearing cement moon boots when he drops back to pass. Leftwich redefines what it means to be a pocket passer mostly because of his immobility. It's exacerbated by a windup that has him bringing the ball below his waist before he gets around to throwing it. since the Jaguars cut Leftwich in 2006, he's made five starts and he's 0-5.With
Haley's "dink-and-dunk" offense Batch seems like a no-brainer.  The Steelers won with Batch before, and they can win with him again!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Isaac Redman And Steelers Beat Giants 24-20

Pittsburgh Steelers Beat New York Giants 24-20

      The Pittsburgh Steelers were able to overcome questionable officiating and blind booth refs to beat the New York Giants 24-20 on Sunday. If you ask me, I couldn't see much difference between the regular NFL refs and the replacements. If this is the kind of officiating we're going to get from the NFL, then you can start giving the refs credit for some of the scores!

       On a lighter note, how about the Steelers running game? For the third straight week they had a hundred yard + running back. This week it was Isaac Redman who embarrassed the Giants defense by rushing for 147 yards. This is after Jonathan Dwyer rushed for over a hundred yards two weeks in a row. Give credit to an offensive line that has played well despite losing some key players.

      The defense also played well against Eli Manning. They were able to pressure Manning so that he had a hard time completing his throws. The Steelers are #1 in passing defense, even without Troy Polamalu. The coverage by Keenan Lewis and Ike Taylor kept the Giants wide receivers in check. This game looked more like Steelers football. They're starting to play better on both sides of the football.