Posted November 29, 2012 on
AP on Fox
San Diego Chargers
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By DAVID GINSBURG AP Sports Writer Less than two weeks ago, the Baltimore Ravens frustrated fleet-footed quarterback Byron Leftwich and defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers to take control of the AFC North.
In the rematch Sunday, the Ravens will face a quarterback with a different skill set. Whether it will be soft-tossing Charlie Batch or the gritty and poised Ben Roethlisberger remains to be seen.
Batch went the distance last week in a loss to last-place Cleveland. The 37-year-old completed 20 for 34 passes for 199 yards but threw three interceptions, explaining in part why Pittsburgh didn't score in the second half and finished with a whopping eight turnovers.
Roethlisberger has been sidelined since hurting his ribs and right (throwing) shoulder in a Nov. 12 win over Kansas City. The two-time Super Bowl winner threw in practice this week but is questionable for Sunday.
The Ravens (9-2) have no idea whether Batch or Big Ben will be calling the signals at M&T Bank Stadium. So they're preparing for both.
''We really don't care who lines up at quarterback,'' Baltimore safety Bernard Pollard said. ''For us, it's a game that's going to be physical. They're going to try to win whoever's under center. If Ben plays, I know what kind of competitor he is. This guy is probably one of the strongest quarterbacks in the National Football League and one of the most competitive, him and Philip Rivers. But when it's all said and done, whoever lines up, lines up. We have our own situation to take care of. We really don't care.''
The Ravens can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the desperate Steelers (6-5), who have lost two straight with Roethlisberger watching from the sideline. Leftwich broke his ribs in a 13-10 loss to Baltimore on Nov. 18, and last week Batch was part of an attack that lost the ball four times in the fourth quarter.
In the days leading up to the first meeting between the teams, the Ravens knew by Wednesday that Leftwich would start at quarterback. There is no such certainty this week, but the course of action remains identical.
''We'll do the same thing we did last time and the same thing we do every week: We'll prepare for their offense,'' coach John Harbaugh said. ''Whatever quarterback ends up playing in this game, he's going to be very capable of running their offense very well. We've seen that before. We've seen that from experience.''
Leftwich was rusty, yet he still managed to throw for 201 yards and score a touchdown. Batch lost last week, but he's 5-3 as a starter with Pittsburgh.
Roethlisberger is in a category of his own, with statistics and a winning percentage that can be measured up against any quarterback in the league. But he's hurting, which could influence his effectiveness.
Still, an injured Roethlisberger is better than no Roethlisberger at all.
''If he's in there, he's in there. It definitely changes things if he plays,'' Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. ''But if he doesn't play, we still have to go out there and play the game. No game is won on paper. It's still the Pittsburgh Steelers. They're going to come in, they're going to be hungry and will be trying to get a win.''
Whether it's Batch or Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh's quarterback will have more talent at his disposal than Leftwich did in the earlier meeting between these AFC North rivals. Wide receiver Antonio Brown returns after missing three games with a high-ankle sprain, and the Steelers added wideout Plaxico Burress last week.
''Obviously he's a heck of a player. A red-zone threat,'' Harbaugh said of Burress. ''He can run every route, he can make every catch. Just a great player.''
The key for the Steelers is having someone who can effectively get Burress the ball. The Ravens don't know if it will be Batch or Roethlisberger, or maybe even Leftwich again?
''We need to watch film on Leftwich, Batch and Roethlisberger,'' Pollard said. ''When it's all said and done, they still have the same concepts. We're going to be ready.''
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
BEST OF MAXIM
Most Steelers fans have been watching the news out of Pittsburgh all week in hopes that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can return to the line-up after missing the last two games, but it may be better for Ben and the team if he sits. It’s not only Rothelisberger either; there are mutliple players that should just sit this one out and come back for the last four games.
On Tuesday there was a report that a source within the Pittsburgh Steelers organization would be “shocked” if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger plays this week.
Now ESPN’s Bob Holtzman is reporting that there’s a less than 50 percent chance that Roethlisberger will play on Sunday against the Ravens.
Buckle up Steelers fans, it looks like it’s going to another rough ride with...
Assuming the Pittsburgh Steelers don't turn the ball over 8 times this coming Sunday, they still will have a tough chore in beating the Baltimore Ravens should quarterback Ben Roethlisberger not play. Hell, even if Roethlisberger does play it will be a tough chore, as it always is.
Do the Steelers have a chance to win if Charlie Batch winds up starting? Sure they do, but even...
Steelers QB Big Ben Roethlisberger spoke to the media on Thursday and updated his status for Sunday’s game in Baltimore. He didn’t box himself in one way or the other, but did leave the door open just as Mike Tomlin mentioned earlier this week.
“Yeah, there’s always a chance. We’ll go out and re-evaluate it again today. See how it feels after today. I can play through...
Fantasy Football News - Mike Tomlin, during his Tuesday press conference, named Jonathan Dwyer the starting running back for the Steelers in week 13 versus the Baltimore Ravens.
FFLockerRoom Take - That is great news for Dwyer owners who were holding out hope that the cream would rise to the top. Dwyer has been the most effective running back for the Steelers all year. His numbers...
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters Thursday that he's still hurting from the sprained right shoulder and dislocated ribs that has forced him out of the previous two games. Though nothing is official, Roethlisberger didn't sound optimistic about his chances of playing Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. "There's always a chance...
You know when you wake up in the morning, sleep walk to your washroom mirror in a fog, trying to brush your teeth and wash your face, when you suddenly realize ‘when did my hair get so long’? You try and think when your last visit to the salon was. A month ago? Six weeks? You don’t remember. Then you say to yourself, ‘I need to stop drinking at the saloon and take...
This Sunday, in NFL Week 13’s late afternoon headliner, the 9-2 Baltimore Ravens have the opportunity to all but lock up first place in the AFC North division by knocking off the 6-5 Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Ravens look to cap off an undefeated three-game stretch, which has been described as the most difficult part of their schedule. They...
All my Vanderjacked fans were asking about week 11′s award…well with Thanksgiving around the corner I didn’t feel it would be nice to single out one kicker when I am thankful for all kickers!
This week all we heard about was Ray Rice making a 4th and 29 late in the game against the lowly Bolts, and as Rice said, “Hey Diddle, Diddle Ray Rice up the middle!” Well, Ray Rice...
Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis might not return to practice this week even though he's expected back soon from a torn right triceps. Lewis underwent surgery and is on injured reserve-designated to return. He's eligible to start practicing Thursday and can't play in a game until Dec. 16 against the Denver Broncos. "Ray Lewis is here, he's rehabbing,...
Yup, Sports Friends might be our favorite new thing ont he web. With Ray Lewis injured, Ray Rice asks Joe Flacco to give the team’s pre-game speeches.
Last week: 10 (+0)
Net points per drive: 0.18 (12th)
DVOA: -1.3% (18th)
Weighted DVOA: 0.2% (16th)
Tier 3: Former Super Bowl champs who could be scary if they get hot
RG Ramon Foster: Did not allow a pressure on 41 pass block snaps, run blocked for 1 yard on 1 attempt
MLB Lawrence Timmons: 8 solo tackles, 2 assists, 6 stops, 1 missed tackle, allowed 4 catches for...
Could there be a Pennsylvania football curse? The Pittsburgh Steelers could be on pace to sink as fast as the Philadelphia Eagles. The two situations are comprised of very different circumstances yet their end result could be the same in that neither team will cash in their post-season expectations. Despite holding out hope that injured [...]
[[ This is a content summary only. Visit...
While it remains unclear if Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback
Ben Roethlisberger (rib/shoulder) will be able to suit up this weekend against
the Baltimore Ravens, coach Mike Tomlin sounded positive regarding the chances
of wide receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) and safety Troy Polamalu (calf) playing
Sunday, reports Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.
Tomlin also sounded positive about...