View Full Version : Passing game was a hit, even after knockout

10-23-2006, 09:15 AM

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

ATLANTA -- Ben Roethlisberger took a hit to the head and left the game in the third quarter, about the only way the Atlanta Falcons were going to stop him. But even the blow, delivered by defensive end Chauncey Davis in what appeared to be a helmet-to-helmet collision, wasn't enough to knock out the Steelers' passing game.

Coach Bill Cowher was not very definitive about the nature of Roethlisberger's injury, saying "I don't really have any initial diagnosis" and "I don't want to speculate." But the third-year quarterback was back on the sideline in the fourth quarter, wearing sweat clothes with a towel draped over his shoulders. And he came back in time to see Charlie Batch finish what Roethlisberger had started.

Of course, he also got to see Nate Washington get called for what the Steelers believe was a petty false-start penalty with eight seconds remaining in regulation, depriving them of a chance to attempt a winning field goal. And he also got to see the Falcons outlast the Steelers in overtime, 41-38, in a game in which Roethlisberger and Batch combined for near-perfection and great production.

"Our starting quarterback went down, the head of the snake," said Washington, who caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger and set up another with a 49-yard catch. "You just have to grow another head."

Batch did that, replacing Roethlisberger in the third quarter, throwing touchdowns of 70 and 17 yards to Hines Ward and nearly bringing the Steelers back for an improbable and pulsating victory.

Batch finished 8 of 13 for 195 yards and did not throw an interception, giving him a passer rating of 145.0. Roethlisberger was 16 of 22 for 238 yards, three touchdowns and, for the second game in a row, no interceptions. His passer rating was 147.3.

Combined, the Steelers were 24 of 35 for 433 yards and five touchdowns, a passer rating of 150.4. It was their most passing yards in a game since Tommy Maddox passed for 473 yards, the previous time the Steelers and Falcons played an overtime game in 2002, a 34-34 tie.


Combined, Ben Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch threw for 433 yards yesterday. If only one of them had thrown for that many yards, it would rank as the second-best individual passing game in club history. A look at where it would fit on the all-time list:

Tommy Maddox
vs. Atlanta, Nov. 10, 2002

Ben Roethlisberger/
Charlie Batch
vs. Atlanta, Oct. 22, 2006

Bobby Layne
vs. Chicago Cardinals,
Dec. 13, 1958

Ben Roethlisberger
vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 4, 2005

Neil O'Donnell
vs. Cincinnati, Dec. 13, 1995

Mark Malone
vs. Cincinnati, Sept. 30, 1985

"We knew we were going to have some success in the air and I always like to think the game plan is not going to change when I get in there," Batch said. "When the pass plays started to come in, I was like, hey, let's go."

But, after the Falcons missed a 52-yard field goal with 25 seconds remaining and Batch completed a 25-yard pass to Ward to the Falcons' 33, the Steelers began hissing like a snake over what happened next.

With no timeouts remaining, Batch spiked the ball to stop the clock with :08 remaining. But Washington, who was lined in the slot, was called for a 5-yard false-start penalty. When a penalty occurs with a moving clock on a play designed to conserve time in the final two minutes of a half, NFL rules stipulate that 10 seconds are to be run off the game clock.

That prevented the Steelers from attempting what would have been a 56-yard field goal by Jeff Reed, even with the penalty.

Cowher said the officials told him that Washington "flinched," and the look on his face suggested Cowher didn't like the call. He also didn't like the prospect of being fined by the NFL, either, which is why he declined to elaborate on the ruling.

Thank God for Charlie, the guy just plays amazing as a backup for us. If it wasn't for him being there we'd have never been in a position to even have a chance to spike the ball to win the game; regardless of how it turned out.

House of Steel
10-23-2006, 09:57 AM
Nice article. I really agree with everything you said, TG.

10-23-2006, 10:07 AM
We seem to have a knack for finding good backup QB's, veteran ones that enjoy staying around and being a part of the unit. Ever since Tomczak was around, Maddox, Batch, we seem to always have a decent backup behind the starter. Cases like yesterday, its a damn good thing we do it too !

House of Steel
10-23-2006, 10:08 AM
:iagree: darn right, TG.

10-23-2006, 01:02 PM
Could you agree anymore in this thread HoS :lol:

Batch is one of the best backups in the league. He has starting experience which most backups in the league can't say they do. He looked a little shakey at first yesterday but he really came on there at the end and kept the Steelers in that game! I actually thought it was over when Ben went down but Batch kept it going. The Steelers are very fortunate to have someone like Batch as a backup because he could probably be a starter some where else... like the Raiders!

10-23-2006, 02:27 PM
Don't forget to add Kordell Stewart to the list of great Steelers backups. He was Kent Graham's backup in 2000, and came in and almost got us into the playoffs. And then when Maddox got the starting job, Kordell came in and performed quite well whenever Tommy got hurt, leading us to wins. Plus there's his time with the Ravens, in which he'd occasionally come in and play better than whatever QB the idiot Billick was starting that week.

10-23-2006, 02:41 PM
Kordell and he word "good" in the same sentence? :scratch: Wow that's a first!! :lol:

Kordell was good as a backup, but I think I would still take Batch over Kordell :bigthumb:

10-23-2006, 03:03 PM
Kordell was a better WR then he ever was a "starting QB" . The man could have been a pro bowl WR if he wouldnt have let his pride get in the way and thrown a fit " I have to be QB, Im not playing WR".

Kordell was a good backup though, but a starter, ugh !

10-23-2006, 03:43 PM
There was an article in the Post-Gazette a couple days ago about how if the Steelers hadn't ****ed around with Kordell so much he could have been better than Vick. He averaged over 5 yards per carry for his career (Vick averages about 6), and Kordell has passed for over 3000 yards twice, something Vick has never done. His completion percentage and passer rating are also better than Vick's. The article quotes Hines Ward as saying that there were times that Kordell could have run and gotten some decent yards, but he was so focused on staying in the pocket and doing what the Steelers told him that he'd pass up alot of those opportunities. He mentions one time when Kordell ran for a touchdown and when he got to the sideline, he got chewed out by kevin gilbride for not passing on that play. I will always maintain that the Steelers coaches screwed up Kordell, from gilbride and his inability to comprehend Kordell's style, to Ray Sherman who was just plain dumb, to Bill Cowher who fed the "bench Kordell" critics by doing just that, instead of sticking with him like he's stuck with Ben.

10-23-2006, 03:51 PM
The problem with Kordell was he wasn't a team player. He was focused mainly on himself. He threw fits on the sidelines, griped to the media, and when things didn't go his way he complained and made a scene anywhere he could.

I think he was an OK quarterback and could have been better than average but still don't think he would have ever amounted to a super bowl winning QB. He was way to prone to throwing interceptions at crucial times and not making plays when we needed him to. Sure he had some highlights in his career, he wasn't all bad. That Raider game when he was injured and came back out and led us to victory is something I'll never forget. As slash he was absolutely unstoppable. If he'd have stayed in that role I think he'd still be playing for us today, or if not he'd be having continued success elsewhere. He was a phenomenal athlete but his attitude didn't fit this team.

Ben is not a complainer, he's a team guy, he rallies the troops, he works hard to be the best he can be. He'll continue to go through some growing pains because you never stop learning as a QB, and with all he's gone through this year he's had some struggles on the field but all in all I wouldnt trade Ben for the world. With him as our QB, we can go out and expect to be competitive and win on any given week. I never felt that with Kordell, most people didn't either I'd venture a safe assumption.

Black@Gold Forever32
10-23-2006, 03:52 PM
SteelerFan87 very good points and I agree. Sure Kordell had his short comings. But after Chan Gailey left after the 1997 season to become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Kordell was never the same. See Chan had a system in place that played Kordell's strengths. Where Ray Sherman and Keven Gillbride system's didn't take advantage of Kordell's strengths and they tried to make Kordell into something he wasn't and that was a typical pocket passer.

Most of the time players are only as good as the systme they are in. Even Joe Montana who was one of the greatest QB's ever had the system that fit him perfect. In Joe Montana also Bill Walsh had the perfect QB for his west coast system. It goes hand to hand.

Thats why I hope who ever replaces Bill Cowher as HC takes advantage of Ben Roethlisbergers full talents. I think Cowher and company has handled Ben alright his first two years. But its time to build this team around Ben and let him take full control of the offense.