Pittsburgh Steelers: 3 Reasons They Can Win Without Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger has brought the Pittsburgh Steelers two Super Bowl rings and another Super Bowl appearance. He has delivered late in the game on countless occasions and will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Steelers quarterback in history.
However, Big Ben suffered an uncharacteristic injury that was serious enough to knock him out of a game and miss another. The Steelers struggled with backup Byron Leftwich and lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 13-10, last week.
With Roethlisberger (and Leftwich) expected to miss their Week 12 game against the Cleveland Browns, can the Steelers still come out on top?
1. Charlie Batch
Charlie Batch is no Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, he isn't even Byron Leftwich. However, Batch is a veteran presence who won't make too many mistakes. He will be able to manage the game well enough for the Steelers to survive this tough period without their first two quarterbacks.
The seasoned veteran has come in during short spurts for Pittsburgh before, and Mike Tomlin hopes that he will be able to hold his own despite not playing all season.
Batch has a career 77.8 passer rating, which is below average but respectable. The Steelers don't have Matt Flynn or Colin Kaepernick to replace their starter, but Batch is serviceable enough to get the job done on Sunday.
2. Running Game
Although Charlie Batch is reliable, Pittsburgh is definitely hoping that he will have to keep his passing to a minimum. With a strong running game led by Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Rashard Mendenhall, he shouldn't have to throw too much.
All three have the ability to be a featured back, and having all three gives Tomlin the luxury of keeping them fresh and being able to feed the hot hand. Having these three backs on the field (either together or separately) will give the Steelers check-down options and keep defenses off-balance.
The Steelers have been known as a ground-and-pound team in the past anyway, so keeping Charlie Batch's workload light and relying on their running backs won't be a new philosophy for them.
All the offense has to do is score a few points, and the Steelers will come out on top. The modern version of the Steel Curtain has held opponents to an NFL-best 259.1 yards per game and has been a scary defense even without Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu.
The pass rush, led by edge-rushers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, can beat almost any offensive line. Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis, meanwhile, comprise a piece of a very strong secondary at cornerback.
Pittsburgh will clearly run into some offensive issues along the way without Ben Roethlisberger, but the presence of one of the best defenses in the league keeping points off the board eases the pain slightly and gives the limited offense more room for error.
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