Batch keeps Steelers perfect

Charlie Batch made his first start since 2007 and threw 3 touchdown passes to lead the Steelers to a 38-13 win over Tampa Bay. Here are the quotes from Mike Tomlin and Batch.

Mike Tomlin, coach, Pittsburgh Steelers

… Hats off to a lot of people, but you've really got to take your hat (off for) Charlie Batch, what he was able to do for us today. He played like a veteran. This guy hasn't had many opportunities, not only in recent years, but in recent days, weeks, months. He didn't blink, man. He's been a consummate professional and team player. Good things usually happen to those kinds of people. I think that's a lesson that a lot of young people in our locker room can learn from here today. Hopefully they will. But (there's) a lot of congratulations to go around, just a total team effort, one that I'm excited for the men in that locker room. Questions.

Could you talk about the play of the offensive line with the new players and the substituting?

We're kind of getting used to that. Today Ramon Foster played and he's the last active guy on our offensive line to play. They've all played, and they've all played extensively. It's kind of a benefit when you look at it. We're learning lessons that maybe some other teams will learn later in the year, and we're finding ways to win while we do it. When you win it's a positive thing. I liked the contribution of all the people that participated. Doug Legursky got a start; Ramon Foster played some; Jonathan Scott rotated at the tackles. It was a nasty, muggy day out there so we had to play some folks. They upheld the standard, so it was a good performance.

Earlier you called it a hostile environment, but half of those fans were yours, weren't they?

Well, you know, I can paint myself into a corner. That's how I like to do it. When you play on the road you just assume that it's hostile.

I know you like to say that it's just a matter of upholding the standard, but how satisfying is it to see the reserves coming in and playing well?

Not extraordinarily. I mean what I say when I expect them to uphold the standard. The standard is winning. The 11 on the field represent us. They're capable and they embrace it.

Was it your plan to take shots down the field with Tanard Jackson out?

Wasn't sure. We knew that we potentially had to because we knew they were going to pack the line of scrimmage early. Didn't feel great about it, but had to do it because we knew how they were going to play. They didn't waste any time getting 35 (Cody Grimm) down in the box early on.

If you had to do it over, would you have started Charlie in the opener?

Man, I don't get do-overs. I don't live in that world. I'll let you guys talk about that. Right now we're 3-0 and we're getting ready for Baltimore.

You turned Batch loose at 21-6 right before the half. Did you have that in the game plan?

Yeah, our glass is half full. We have a great deal of trust in all our men, but particularly Charlie. He's a veteran guy. He's not careless with the ball, so you want to give guys an opportunity to play to win. That's what we wanted to do there and he did a nice job of executing.

Did your knowledge of the Tampa-2 defense help you today?

I didn't see much Tampa-2 out there today. I didn't.

Any injuries?

The only one was what appears to be an MCL sprain of some kind to Chris Hoke there late. It's unfortunate but that's how it goes. That's our story this year.

Any significance for you in returning to Tampa?

None. Thank you.

Charlie Batch, quarterback, Steelers

Considering the past few months, do you feel good about what happened today?

I do. These opportunities don't come often right now. Everybody knows Ben (Roethlisberger) is the starter, and how everything else played out I wasn't supposed to get the opportunity. I took it play by play and I'm excited with all of it today.

Did the criticisms of the offense affect you at all?

We felt offensively we were letting this team down. We were winning in other phases but we weren't holding up our end. We felt like in those first two games if we were able to put some points on the board and take some pressure off our defense, we wouldn't have had to play till the end of the game. You could see us put it together today and complementing our defense.

Was their plan to try to take away the run?

They did. They really did. You could see it. We knew coming in we wanted to try to run the football and that's one of the things we weren't doing well early. At that point we had to loosen them up a little bit. We did. We were able to take that passing game to the next level and we started connecting on them with Mike Wallace in the first quarter, and from that point we felt everything else was clicking.

What about Wallace's development?

He felt bad about last week. He felt he should've made some plays. He wanted to bounce back and all week you could see he had that fire in his eyes. He wanted the opportunity, and he knew based off coverage I wanted him to go get the ball. And when I was able to put it up there, especially the second one, he was able to concentrate and catch the pass.

Did you want to go after Cody Grimm?

In that situation, we knew we were going to call that play and at that point I told Mike, ‘regardless of who the safety was, if we can get his back turned, I'm going to give it a shot.' Mike did a good job. I had to move in the pocket a little to buy some time and Mike did a great job getting the safety's back turned and I was able to put it up there. Mike did a good job adjusting to the ball.

How did you stay sharp through all of that inactivity?

A lot of individual work. I did individual work with the receivers, but it wasn't necessarily carrying over into team situations. So at that point I had to take what I could get, whether that was 7-on-7s, or repping during a practice, but one thing about it I made sure I knew the game plan and however it plays out in the preseason that whenever my number was called I was going to be able to go out there.

Were you disappointed you weren't involved in the competition?

Absolutely. I felt at that point I always wanted to put my hat in the ring. I didn't get that opportunity early. And then it felt like it changed in that fourth preseason game. I was disappointed I didn't get the opportunity in the Atlanta game. Things happened again. Here I am. I got the opportunity and I wanted to make the most of it. I wanted to go out here and put the pressure on coach Tomlin to make it a tough decision for next week because I still want to be out there again even though Byron (Leftwich) is going to be healthy. I felt that I kind of made my case today.


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