Batch takes the blame
By Mike Prisuta
CLEVELAND – Coach Mike Tomlin assessed a turnover-plagued, 20-14 loss to the Browns as representative of what the Steelers were capable of on Sunday afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“We own it,” Tomlin acknowledged.
Quarterback Charlie Batch thought what transpired belonged mostly to him.
“I put it on my shoulders,” Batch said. “Offensively, we didn’t get it done, and that’s really on my shoulders.”
Batch wound up completing 20-of-34 for 199 yards, with no touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 38.7 in replacing Byron Leftwich, who the previous week had replaced Ben Roethlisberger.
Batch, in particular, lamented all three of his interceptions – the Steelers also fumbled eight times and lost five of those – and a potential long touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Wallace that wound up instead bouncing incomplete.
The first interception occurred on third-and-6 from the Steelers’ 19-yard line with 7:10 remaining in the third quarter and the Steelers ahead, 14-13.
“(Cornerback) Sheldon Brown did a good job of under-cutting the pass on the sideline,” Batch said of what was supposed to be an out-route to wide receiver Plaxico Burress.
Interception No. 2 resulted when Batch tried to hit Wallace on a slant on second-and-12 from the Cleveland 30-yard line with 12:06 left in the fourth quarter and the Browns up, 20-14.
“It was a little behind him,” Batch said of a ball that Wallace deflected before it was eventually collected by defensive tackle Billy Winn.
Batch was intercepted for the third time when he tried to find Wallace deep on first-and-10 from the Steelers’ 42-yard line with 3:09 remaining.
“Man-to-man coverage,” Batch explained. “(Cornerback Joe) Hayden did a good job there and then the safety flew over the top. The pass was underthrown; Mike didn’t even have a chance to come back for it. I just can’t leave it short like that.”’
Batch’s day also included an under-throw to Wallace, who had gotten behind safety T.J. Ward, on second-and-6 from the Pittsburgh 19-yard line with 7:18 left in the third quarter.
“I had him deep over the middle,” Batch said. “The back-side safety, he wasn’t even looking at the pass. I think it hit the back of his helmet.
“If I put just a little bit more on it, 3 yards, then that could possibly be a touchdown as opposed to the deflection.”
The challenge now is for Batch and the Steelers to bounce back in advance of this coming Sunday’s visit to Baltimore.
“It’s a long season,” Batch said. “No matter what, you have to keep fighting. Nobody out there right now is going to sit back and look at it to the point of being behind us. We have to make sure we stick together, which we will. We gotta get it together and get it together quickly.
“We still had a chance to win (in Cleveland), that’s the crazy part. With about nine minutes left and with about five minutes left we still had a chance to win the football game.”