Steelers shuffle backup QBs

Much worry but for little reason in Steeler Nation with the latest injuries at the quarterback position.

The Steelers reached overtime of their 10th game before someone other than Ben Roethlisberger took a snap at quarterback, and now they've lost backup Charlie Batch, probably for the season.

Roethlisberger appears to be OK after leaving in overtime of Sunday's 27-24 loss in Kansas City to what coach Mike Tomlin said was a "concussion-oriented thing." The quarterback said after the game he was OK, and he was being evaluated Monday by doctors to make sure that indeed was the case.

However, Batch will undergo surgery Tuesday or Wednesday to repair a broken left wrist he injured on the Steelers' final series of the game. The Steelers are likely to elevate second-year pro Dennis Dixon to the backup job and sign Tyler Palko on Wednesday, as reported Monday by

Roethlisberger had one of his best days, completing 32 of 42 for 398 yards and three touchdowns, and neither of his two interceptions was his fault.

The Steelers had an opportunity over the past two weeks to nearly put the AFC North Division in their pocket, playing Cincinnati at home and at Kansas City, but they lost both and still trail the Bengals in the division by one game.

Yet the injuries are piling up. Troy Polamalu is out indefinitely with a sprained PCL in his left knee, starting guard Chris Kemoeatu left Sunday's game with a sprained MCL, Batch is out, they've lost starting left defensive end Aaron Smith for the season and they have to play their nemesis, the Ravens, in Baltimore on Sunday night.

"We're not where we want to be," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "We have six games left. We'll see what kind of character this team has."


* Second-year Chiefs linebacker Andy Studebaker, making his first NFL start, had two interceptions vs. the Steelers. That's two more than Steelers cornerbacks have combined for this year.

* The Steelers allowed two passes over 40 yards to the Chiefs, doubling their total for the season. They allowed only two over 40 all of the 2008 season.

* The four kickoff returns for touchdowns against the Steelers (in the past five games) tied an NFL record set by the 1998 Minnesota Vikings.

* "We've been struggling over the past few weeks, and we haven't found the answer yet," said Keyaron Fox, one of two special teams co-captains. "We've tried different things, tried different schemes, different personnel; can't get the job done. We have to go back in the lab and try again."


* LB James Harrison got his 10th sack Sunday, on pace to equal the club-record 16 he had last season, and he could receive at least another half a sack when the league reviews Casey Hampton's first-half sack. Hampton also recovered a fumble by the Chiefs that set up a score.

* RB Willie Parker finally got into the game plan. After carrying only twice in the previous three games, he had six carries for 24 yards playing every third series Sunday.

* SS Troy Polamalu missed Sunday's game with a sprained PCL in his left knee and could miss this week's game in Baltimore.

* QB Ben Roethlisberger's 398 yards passing vs. the Chiefs are the third-most in his career.

* WR Hines Ward caught a season-high 10 passes for 128 yards and one touchdown Sunday to give him 63 for 798 yards and five touchdowns.

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