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09-27-2010, 07:28 AM
Gerry Dulac's two-minute drill
Monday, September 27, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Game Ball goes to: Charlie Batch

He started the game with an interception and ended with one, too, but it was what Batch did in between, in his first regular-season start in 2 1/2 years, that was so remarkable. He threw three touchdowns in the first half, including ones of 46 and 41 yards to Mike Wallace, to give them a 28-6 halftime lead. Just as important, his throws backed the Buccaneers off the line of scrimmage and created big gaps for RB Rashard Mendenhall. "Charlie was playing like he was 25 years old," Wallace said.

The Countdown: A quick look at the top performances Sunday from the game:

1FINALLY ... A TD: After failing to score a touchdown in regulation in the first two games, the offense finally managed something other than a Jeff Reed field goal when Batch connected with Wallace for a 46-yard touchdown over safety Cody Grimm, who was starting for suspended Tanard Jackson. It was the first of four first-half TDs and gave the Steelers a 7-3 lead. "The one thing with Charlie Batch is we knew he would open up the offense," safety Ryan Clark said. "He can call everything that's in the playbook."

2CHUGGING CHARLIE: On third-and-6 at the Tampa Bay 48, Batch stepped up and scrambled for 24 yards -- the longest run of his 13-year NFL career. That eventually led to Mendenhall's 3-yard TD run that gave the Steelers a 14-6 lead.

3DEISEL KEISEL: Running toward the same corner of the end zone as James Harrison in Super Bowl XLIII, DE Brett Keisel caught a deflected pass off the hands of WR Sammie Stroughter and followed his blocks for a 79-yard interception return. "I had a good convoy," Keisel said.

4DOUBLE TROUBLE: On the same play in which he scored on a 50-yard run in overtime to beat the Falcons -- "22 Double" -- Mendenhall ran 34 yards and almost scored again, this time setting up Reed's 24-yard field goal for a 31-6 lead.

5JOSH GOT FREE: QB Josh Freeman was sacked four times, but he escaped a collapsed pocket and faked Lawrence Timmons for an 11-yard gain on third-and-4 at the Steelers' 39. That kept alive a 15-play field-goal drive that cut the Steelers' lead to 7-6.

Inside the numbers 6That's how many runs of 10 yards or longer Mendenhall had against the Buccaneers, en route to finishing with a season-high 143 yards rushing. A week earlier, the Buccaneers held Carolina's top rushing duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart to 97 yards on 25 carries.

What was he thinking?: Buccaneers fans thought it was bad last year when coach Raheem Morris punted on fourth-and-2 from midfield after recovering an onside kick against the Jets. Well, add another to the list. Trailing, 38-6, in the fourth quarter, facing fourth-and-2 at the Steelers' 36, Morris elected to punt. "[If] you get one [drive] stopped and get the ball back, you put yourself in an opportunistic position to score," Morris said. "It didn't work out that way."

Overheard: "You really have to tip your hat to Charlie Batch, what he was able to do for us. He played like a veteran. He didn't blink. He's the consummate professional and team player. That's a lesson a lot of young people in our locker room could learn from here today."

-- Coach Mike Tomlin on the performance of QB Charlie Batch

No Steelers receiver since Louis Lipps in 1988 had caught two touchdowns of 40 yards or longer in the same game, but Wallace did it in the first half against the Buccaneers. The second, a 41-yarder that gave the Steelers a 21-6 lead, came on a play called Z-Pylon in which Wallace, lined at flanker, ran to the same corner of the end zone where Santonio Holmes made the winning catch in Super Bowl XLIII. The ball deflected off the hands of CB Aqib Talib right to Wallace. "That's why he plays cornerback -- he can't catch," Wallace said.

Next Opponent: Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 P.M. Sunday: The Steelers (3-0) return home to face the Baltimore Ravens (2-1) having won four of the past five meetings against the Ravens and having won four in a row and nine of the past 10 at Heinz Field.

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