Pittsburgh ‘Steels’ One From Ravens
Sports Fan Insider
The Steelers got the best of the Ravens again at home. The last team to beat them at M&T Bank Stadium was the team in the black and yellow jerseys. The Steelers recorded a last minute drive from ancient quarterback Charlie Batch, which put them in perfect position to make a last second game-winning field goal.
Batch who is 37-years of age and was the third-string quarterback for the Steelers earlier in the season beat the Ravens in their own house. The players were not as surprised as they might be because it is the National Football League; everybody who is playing the game is a professional. Batch finished 25-of-36 for 276 total passing yards, one touchdown ( his 1st in 798 days ) , and one interception was not a perfect game but he got the job done and that is all matters.
The Ravens had a golden opportunity to clinch the AFC North title division with a win, but they could not get it done in the 2nd half, and suffered a devastating defeat. The Ravens didn’t just lose a game Sunday. They also watched both a 15-game home winning streak and a 12-game AFC North winning streak end. The margin of victory was slim in this series and the Ravens came into the league in 1996, they’ve played 15 games against the Steelers in which the outcome was decided by 3 points or fewer. Under that scenario, this is the closest series in the NFL since the Ravens arrived.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said about the signal caller that beat them: . “Charlie’s always been a good quarterback. We had a lot of respect for him going into the game.”
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While Batch hasn’t had the most experience lately, he has been in the league for 15 seasons. He also faced the Ravens in 2010 as a fill-in starter for Roethlisberger, so he had some familiarity with playing against Baltimore. The Ravens did a good job on Batch in the first half. They limited him to just 9-of-16 for only 57 yards. Batch was off with some of his throws, including missing wide-open wide receiver Mike Wallace for what would have been a touchdown near the end of the first half. But Batch found rhythm, open receivers and plenty of time to throw in the second half. He threw for 219 yards in the second half alone. Batch got the second half off to a strong start by finding Miller (five catches, 97 yards) open down the middle for a 43-yard gain. Miller got behind the Ravens’ linebackers and found a seam in a zone defense. “They were just hitting us in the right spots,” outside linebacker Paul Kruger said. “They were finding the weaknesses in our defense. It just seemed like we couldn’t get in a good rhythm.”
The Ravens pass rush didn’t get to Batch often either, despite going against an offensive line missing its starting right tackle Mike Adams and left guard Willie Colon. The Ravens miss a big opportunity to secure a playoff berth but the only team that seems to beat the Ravens at home does it again. This week the Ravens will have to stay focused as they are 9-3 and still leading the AFC North by 2 games with four to play , but they will be in a fight for at least the AFC’s number two seed until the end .
WATCH VIDEO: Kruger
Follow Jerry Coleman: @sportswcoleman