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Batch earns Steelers' confidence in win

The SportsXchange

Pittsburgh could get Ben Roethlisberger back this week for a home game against the San Diego Chargers, but the Steelers have confidence in Charlie Batch if he cannot go because of his shoulder and rib injuries.

Batch had his best performance in a Steelers uniform when he completed 25 of 36 passes for 276 yards in a 23-20 victory over Baltimore, including rallying the Steelers from seven down in the fourth quarter for the victory.

"It was a huge win for him," said tight end Heath Miller, who caught Batch's 7-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter that tied the game 20-20. "He did a great job managing the game, keeping us together as an offense and making positive plays. He deserves a lot of credit."

Batch turns 38 years old Wednesday and it has been assumed this would be his last season. He had been third-string all season behind No. 2 Byron Leftwich and did not suit up for a game in 2011 until Nov. 18 against Baltimore at Heinz Field, after Roethlisberger was injured the previous game.

When Leftwich was found to have broken ribs that day, Batch moved up to start against Cleveland on Nov. 25, his first action since the preseason. He was awful that day and threw three interceptions in a 20-14 loss.

Now he's been thrust into a position to possibly save the team's playoff hopes, and he could find himself No. 2 even when both Roethlisberger and Leftwich are healthy.

"I know how important it was to him," veteran safety Ryan Clark said. "Last week, our offense struggled and turned the ball over. There was a lot of pressure on him this week. It was awesome to have him on the field for the game-winning drive."

Roethlisberger practiced only on a limited basis last week and was scratched on Friday. He could not throw the ball much more than 10 yards. His status remains uncertain for this Sunday's game vs. San Diego.
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