Posted November 21, 2012 on
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The Pittsburgh Steelers hope two familiar faces can help them bounce back from their first defeat in more than a month.
With veteran Charlie Batch under center and Plaxico Burress back where his career began, the visiting Steelers look to continue their dominance over the snake-bit Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Pittsburgh (6-4) has a firm grasp on a wild-card spot, but there is certainly reason for concern as injuries continue to mount. Already without safety Troy Polamalu, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss a second straight game with a sprained right shoulder and dislocated first rib.
Backup QB Byron Leftwich is also out after suffering a broken rib Sunday night when the Steelers' four-game winning streak ended with a 13-10 loss to Baltimore.
Enter the 37-year-old Batch, who is 5-2 while starting in place of Roethlisberger over the last decade. He was an economical 15 of 22 for 208 yards in a 27-0 win over St. Louis in his last start Dec. 24.
Batch was 13 of 19 for 150 yards and ran for a score in his only previous start versus Cleveland, a 34-21 Pittsburgh home win Nov. 13, 2005.
"Charlie's a great quarterback, and he's also been in the league for some time now,'' Pittsburgh cornerback Keenan Lewis said. "He knows the offense upside down (inside out), so if we have to rely on Charlie, we know he could get in there and win games.''
If receiver Antonio Brown misses a third straight game with a bad ankle, Batch could find himself throwing often to Burress. The 35-year-old receiver signed with the Steelers on Tuesday to help a receiving corps that is down to three healthy bodies.
Burress, who had two 1,000-yard seasons while with Pittsburgh from 2000-2004, caught 45 passes for 612 yards and tied for the team lead with eight touchdowns for the New York Jets in 2011.
"He's in really good physical condition based on the workout I saw (Tuesday),'' coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's got very good body control for a big man. He can drop his weight at break points and obviously he's no stranger to football.''
While Tomlin does not expect offensive coordinator Todd Haley to change the playbook much with Batch and Burress in the mix, the Steelers must execute better on third down after going 5 for 17 against the Ravens. Pittsburgh has converted on 49 percent of its third-down chances with Roethlisberger on the field.
The Steelers also could rely more on running the ball against a Cleveland defense that ranks 24th with 125.3 rushing allowed yards per game.
After missing four straight contests with an Achilles' injury, Rashard Mendenhall ran 11 times for 33 yards last weekend. He hasn't gained more than 84 in his last six games versus Cleveland.
Teammate Jonathan Dwyer, who has a team-leading 410 rushing yards, is also expected to see time.
Tomlin hopes his team's stout defense will take some of the pressure of the offense, which has scored one TD since Roethlisberger was injured in third quarter of a 16-13 win over Kansas City on Nov. 12. The Steelers are first in the NFL with 259.1 yards allowed and fifth at 19.0 points given up per contest.
Pittsburgh has won 22 of 24 against the Browns and outscored them 96-31 during a four-game winning streak in the series, with Cleveland managing two touchdowns in those contests. The Steelers have taken two straight and 13 of 15 in Cleveland.
The Browns (2-8) found the end zone twice last Sunday but blew a 13-point halftime lead en route to a 23-20 overtime loss at Dallas. Since 2010, Cleveland has lost an NFL-leading 18 games by seven or fewer points, including five this season.
"We just have to find a way to finish,'' coach Pat Shurmur said. "We have a whole locker room full of winners. This whole organization is full of winners. We just have to put it all together and do it.''
Brandon Weeden threw a pair of TD passes to Ben Watson and was not intercepted while Trent Richardson just missed his third straight 100-yard rushing game with 95. However, the Browns committed two penalties for 50 yards on Dallas' tying drive in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland is 0-5 this season without star cornerback Joe Haden, who missed last week's game with an oblique injury. Haden, however, returned to practice Wednesday and could play Sunday.
BEST OF MAXIM
Ben Roethlisberger will be a father the next time he steps onto the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His wife Ashley gave birth to their first child, Benjamin Jr., last night.
There was a lot of analysis surrounding the arrival of Ben’s first child with his due date set to come some time during the regular season. Luckily for the Steelers the birth was during the week and did...
According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers have signed wide receiver Plaxico Burress.
Plaxico Burress signs with #steelers
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) November 20, 2012
With injuries to both Antonio Brown and Jericho Cotchery, the Steelers needed to add depth at receiver.
This is somewhat of a homecoming for Burress who was drafted by the Steelers...
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told the media that he was very impressed with Plaxico Burress’ work out and says he’s in good shape.
“He’s in really good physical condition based on the workout I just saw,” said Tomlin, per Steelers.com. “He’s got very good body control for a big man. He can drop his weight at break points. Obviously, he’s no stranger...
(Eds: Updates throughout) By CHRIS ADAMSKI Associated Press Mike Wallace is in his fourth season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, so the wide receiver is familiar with all this talk about Charlie Batch.
Asked if it was at all concerning that the man throwing the ball to him on Sunday will soon be 38 years old, Wallace shrugged.
''He's been old,'' he said of Batch...
Charlie Batch is basically an assistant coach. He help Mike Tomlin on the sidelines anytime he needs it. He motivates players. But he's also a back-up quarterback still. As a third-string QB, it's difficult to foresee a situation where he would start, but the Steelers are in that exact situation this week. And Batch says he's ready.
According to Paul Zeise...
Click the link to see a flowchart of who the Steelers should call now that Big Ben and Leftwich are injured.
Plaxico Burress is ready to get back to work.
The veteran wide receiver says he still thinks there's plenty of football in him and he sees no reason why he can't play for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday against Cleveland. The Steelers (6-4) signed the 35-year-old Burress on Tuesday to shore up an injury-depleted receiving corps.
Burress spent the first five seasons of...
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is making good progress as he continues to recover from rib and shoulder injuries and is still considered to be week-to-week at this point.
With the Steelers so depleted at the quarterback position, Roethlisberger might serve as the emergency quarterback on Sunday.
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While Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recovers from a shoulder injury, he and his wife welcomed a son. Roethlisberger announced the news on his website Thursday. His wife Ashley gave birth to Benjamin Jr., the couple's first child, at 10:06 p.m. Wednesday evening. He weighed 7 lbs. and 1 oz. "We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers...
According to Adam Schefter the Steelers have signed quarterback Brian Hoyer and wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Hoyer is expected to back-up Charlie Batch on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Byron Leftwich will miss that game with fractured ribs.
Hoyer backed-up Tom Brady in New England from 2009-2011. He has only attempted 43 passes in his career and will only see playing time...
The result of Sunday’s game isn’t the only thing that has Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley a little ticked off. He apparently isn’t taking too kindly to Ray Rice‘s postgame antics either.
Woodley used Twitter to school everyone on proper Terrible Towel etiquette on Monday night. According to the Pro Bowler, use of the famous Pittsburgh rally towel is reserved strictly for...
With Ben Roethlisberger — and now Byron Leftwich — sidelined with rib and shoulder injuries, the Pittsburgh Steelers are on the hunt for more depth behind new starting quarterback Charlie Batch. To that end, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Steelers will host former Philadelphia Eagles backup Mike Kafka for workouts today, according to sources who…