When a team trots out a quarterback as bad as Charlie Batch, the rest of the team has to raise their level of play, or, do the exact opposite of what the Steelers did Sunday.
Batch was awful, which was expected. The Steelers defense did all it could, which was also expected. And Batch's teammates on offense were dreadful.
Pittsburgh had four different running backs -- Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Dwyer, Chris Rainey and Isaac Redman all fumble. The Steelers lost 20-14 despite eight turnovers, which is actually pretty impressive. Any team that turns the ball over eight times should lose by way more than one score.
The Steelers defense played very well. Lawrence Timmons returned an interception for a touchdown. Pittsburgh held Cleveland to 238 yards. That unit did its part.
But Pittsburgh had little chance with Batch playing. At 37 years old, it's hard to figure out why the Steelers are using a roster spot on him. He can't help now. He looked old as he threw the ball with no zip whatsoever. He's obviously not going to help in the future either. The Steelers would be much better off with a young quarterback in the third spot. A developmental rookie couldn't have done much worse.
Batch completed 20 of 34 passes for 197 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. His quarterback rating was 38.5. And his stats don't really don't show how bad he played. Most of his completions were very short. Anytime he tried to throw past 10 yards, the results were humorous. Batch tried to throw deep to Mike Wallace, and the pass was so underthrown, it hit Browns safety T.J. Ward in the helmet as he chased the play. On the next play, Batch was picked off.
The Steelers desperately need Ben Roethlisberger back, but the rest of the Steelers need to play much better regardless of who is under center. The Steelers probably should have won despite Batch's predictably awful day, but the running backs were downright horrible.
The Steelers, who are now 6-5, will play better when Roethlisberger returns. They just need to hope it's not too late when he comes back.
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- Charlie Batch