With Ben Roethlisberger out, the Pittsburgh Steelers need a miracle to beat the Baltimore Ravens.
The 37-year-old Charlie Batch can’t carry the Black and Gold to victory like Big Ben does routinely. Batch needs help, and a lot of it. To shock the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, here are three Steelers who must rise to the occasion with their star QB out.
3. Troy Polamalu
Soooooooy my Uce @tpolamalu is back tomorrow & it's a blessing. I'll just be the other safety tomorrow. Best seat in the house!!— ryan clark (@RealRClark25) December 2, 2012
Polamalu has been the most valuable player on Dick Lebeau’s defense for years. After being unable to suit up due to injury in all but two games this season, he’ll return to the field against the Ravens and must make his presence felt.
Pittsburgh was able to hold Baltimore to just 13 points in their previous meeting. In theory, Polamalu should help its stop unit equal, if not better that effort.
2. Jonathan Dwyer
In a showdown between two top-notch defenses, field position will be more important than ever.
With Batch under center, Pittsburgh won’t be able to march against the Ravens. If Dwyer, who was named the Steelers’ starting halfback earlier this week following the squad’s display of fumblitis against the Cleveland Browns, finds any success, it would do wonders for their offense.
They were held to just 10 points in Round 1 and—if you subtract Byron Leftwich’s 31-yard scamper—only compiled 103 yards on the ground. And given that it fields the least talented offense of the two, Pittsburgh must lean on Dwyer to at least control the clock.
1. Mike Wallace
Drew Butler and Sam Koch will earn every penny of their paychecks on Sunday evening.
There projects to be plenty of punts because moving the ball against these defenses is a nightmare. And because, once again, it’ll be so difficult to march against the Ravens, a single splash play could win the contest.
That’s where Wallace comes in. He’s the most explosive playmaker on either ballclub. After a lengthy holdout, he’s struggled to routinely torch secondaries like in the past, but he’s shown flashes of that game-breaking speed, and one more flash against the Ravens would greatly influence the game’s outcome.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.