Charlie Batch Showed Us Non-Believers That Fortitude Gets Better With Age

It is hard to put into words what we observed Sunday in Baltimore as Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch led the black and gold to an improbable 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Perhaps the single best word to use for what we witnessed on Sunday is, “fortitude”.

Batch wasn\’t given a chance this week by most everyone, including myself, to knock off the 9-2 Ravens in their own building, where they had previously won 15 straight games.

Charlie showed us. Man, did he show us.

Batch overcame several obstacles to win on Sunday. In case you didn\’t know it by now, he is the oldest offensive player currently in the league and will turn 38 years old this upcoming week. Wednesday to be exact.

He was also fresh off a loss last week to the Cleveland Browns that featured him going 20-of-34 for 199 yards with 3 interceptions and no touchdowns. The criticism of his play this past week was heavy as you can imagine.

If that wasn\’t enough, Batch also had to overcome the loss of his dog Roxie, who lost her battle with cancer this past week. Talk about a lump in your throat. If you watched the postgame embrace between Batch and Ben Roethlisberger after the kick by Shaun Suisham sailed through the uprights, you can see that all of the emotion had come to a head from not only this past week, but perhaps the last 14 plus seasons as well.

Batch was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Eastern Michigan. He lasted only four seasons in Detroit and was sent packing when Lions drafted Joey Harrington. He signed on with the Steelers in 2002 and has been in Pittsburgh ever since as an obscure backup. Sometimes second string, sometimes third string.

Over the years Batch has played very sparingly and his start Sunday against the Ravens was just his ninth in a Steelers uniform. Two of those previous starts had been against Baltimore and he lost both of them. Up until the loss last week to the Browns they were his only loses as a member of the Steelers.

Batch had an up and down performance on Sunday and he certainly wasn\’t aided by his wide receivers, who dropped and fumbled away a few key passes in the game. The veteran was also picked off once and sacked twice in the game in addition.

Following the interception the Steelers defense got the ball back via a turnover. Down 7 points with 9:41 left in the game, Batch and his fortitude went to work. The Steelers quarterback had the team in the end zone in just four plays and the drive culminated with a Batch to Heath Miller touchdown from 7 yards out.

The Steelers defense once again got a stop and the Ravens punted the ball back to Pittsburgh with 6:23 left in a tied game. Batch was far from done at that point even though the offense was forced to start the final drive at their own 15 yard-line.

After a couple of runs by Isaac Redman to start the drive, Batch converted a 3rd down and 7 to Mike Wallace that moved the ball out to the Steelers own 33 yard-line. The next three passes were also complete as well and the last one ended with him being a victim of a late hit by Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger. That penalty moved the football to the Ravens 19 yard-line with 1:46 left in the game.

A false start by Maurkice Pouncey followed, but the damage was done at that point. After 3 straight running plays were reeled off to burn some clock, Suisham kicked home the winner from 42 yards out.

On the final two drives Batch was 8-of-8 for 72 yards and a touchdown. That was a treat for all of us to watch, and that includes Roxie, who was likely one of the few that believed Batch would win this game.

Shame on us non-believers, Charlie. We hope you will forgive us.

Oh, and happy birthday too. Your 38 year old fortitude has never looked better.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Charlie is the definition of old reliable. Man I couldn’t be happier for him it meant so much to get the hard heart fought game, hats off to you Charlie!

  • Reader783

    Charlie Batch is an absolute class act. It was so great to not only get the win, but to see how much it meant to him, I couldn’t have anticipated that. It’s players like him that make you proud to root for a team.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Next man up+!

  • grw1960

    I couldn’t figure out why Leftwich was # 2 insted of Batch the game Leftwich played. I always thought Batch was the better of the two.. Then Batch played last week and was pretty bad and I had little hope for this week. I am glad for him that all he really needed was more practice to improve the timing of his passes,

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Agreeing with all that. Against Cleveland was an awful game by Batch, & consistancy does matter. The thanks should go to our pass blocking though which in Baltimore gave Charlie all day to throw.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Charlie is class & should have been ahead of Leftwich on depth chart, but The thanks should go to our pass blocking! – they gave Charlie all day to throw. Love Charlie but I never saw Ben get that much time to throw. Our pass blocking this game really suprised me. The sacks this game were when our receivers couldnt get open, Sanders & Wallace didnt help Charlie sometimes. And gettin tired if Wallace’s inconsistancy this year, but thats another topic.

  • steeltown

    Wallace and Mendenhall both might be on the outside looking in, someone might pay them BIG money, but it wont be us. Wallace might be offered a deal like A.Browns, but I doubt the Steelers offer him more than that. He has alot of drops this season

  • steeltown

    “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie!”

  • steeltown

    Lets not forget, being #3 on the depth chart, he received almost no snaps in practice.. and definitely none with the first team, another week of practice served him well… AND a great game by the OLine!

  • Ahmad

    I was one of the few who had full faith in Charlie batch to go out and win this game. Yes the Steelers were without Big Ben, but I knew if the Steelers wanted this game badly enough, they would find a way to win and they did.

  • Robert Truax

    When I seen the shot of Charlie and Ben hugging, I’ll admit I got a little something in my eye…..could have been emotion or the beer.

  • Mike Carroll

    Agree completely.