The Pittsburgh Steelers Are Doomed with Charlie Batch at Quarterback

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Charlie Batch #16 of the Pittsburgh Steelers argues a call during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Steelers 20-14. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

With quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich injured, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had to turn to veteran backup Charlie Batch

In other words, the Steelers are doomed. 

Batch was the third-string quarterback for the Steelers for a reason, and he showed exactly why in the team's Week 12 matchup against the lowly Cleveland Browns

The 37-year old backup attempted 34 passes, completing only 20 of them for 199 yards and three interceptions. Combine that with five lost fumbles, and the Steelers found a way to lose to the Browns 20-14 with eight total turnovers.

Batch was horrific, but that much was expected. He's been with the team for eight years and makes consistent appearances in the wake of the latest Roethlisberger injury. This time, the team around him simply wasn't good enough to propel Batch to a victory in Cleveland. 

There's not much left in the tank for Batch, and if he remains the starter, the Steelers could be in some serious trouble. Leftwich suffered a fractured a rib against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11 and could miss some serious time. 

The prognosis for Roethlisberger, who suffered a shoulder injury along with a potentially life-threatning rib injury a few weeks back, is much better. Jason La Canfora of CBS made it very clear that Roethlisberger should be ready to go for Week 13 against the Ravens

Just-signed Brian Hoyer will back up Charlie Batch on Sunday for the Steelers as of now, sources said, though it is not out of the question that Roethlisberger dresses in an emergency role for the game against the Browns. Roethlisberger is making progress in his recovery from rib and shoulder injuries, sources said, and he is not in his sling as much as last week, and he remains week-to-week.

Roethlisberger is clearly on the road to recovery, and it sounds like, barring a setback, he should be ready for the crucial AFC North matchup. 

If Big Ben cannot go against the Ravens for whatever reason, the Steelers coaching staff cannot afford to start Batch again. 

At this point, the Steelers would be better off starting the recently signed Brian Hoyer over Batch. While Batch may know the offense better, Hoyer is clearly the better quarterback. As one of the most highly-touted backups in the NFL, he's more than capable of managing a game effectively while Big Ben heals. 

The Steelers are currently tied for second place in the AFC North at 6-5 with the Cincinnati Bengals. If the franchise would like to move into better positioning as the season winds down, it must do everything within its power to avoid starting Batch. 

There was a time when Batch was one of the more effective backups in the league thanks to his near decade of experience in the Steelers' system. That time has now passed. 

Pittsburgh can't win with Batch under center anymore; that much was apparent after the loss to Cleveland.