We continue our recap of the Top 5 Biggest Surprises and Dissapointments with the #4 surprise: Charlie Batch.
Batch could have been even higher on this list had the Pittsburgh coaching staff managed Ben Roethlisberger's health more wisely. Batch started the season opener for the Steelers against the Miami Dolphins. Roethlisberger needed an additional week of recovery following his emergency appendectomy, so Batch was called on to face Daunte Culpepper and the Fins.
Batch was far from perfect that night, but he accomplished something Roethlisberger failed to do all year: not turn the ball over. Batch threw 3 TD passes, and completed 15 of 25 passes for 209 yards.
That would be the only game Batch started in 2006. I definitely think he should have started against Oakland. Instead, the coaching and medical staff gave Big Ben the green light to play despite being knocked out with a concussion the previous week at Atlanta. In case you had forgotten, Big Ben had his worst day as a pro , throwing 4 picks, including one that was returned for a TD. There's no way we lose that game if Batch had started.
Batch finished the season with a 121.00 QB rating, 5 TDs, 0 INTs, and a healthy 9.8 yards per attempt.
When he did get an opportunity to step on the field, his perforamnce was surprising, but I should note that his influence on the team extended far beyond his time behind center. Batch has always been the consumate professional. He knew his role, was prepared to go when called upon, and supported Big Ben during one helluva tumultous season. Batch was the first person to greet Roeth on the sidelines after a big play, and the first to offer words of encouragement after all of Ben's many mistakes.
The fact that Batch was a great Steeler in 2006 in this regard, I suppose, should come as no surprise.