With Batch, Ravens Will Return To Basics

The Ravens’ No. 1 priority is to stop the run, and then make Batch beat them with his arm.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Thursday, September 30th, 2010 at 10:53 am | Categories: 2010 Season, Mike Duffy, Week 4 at Steelers

The Ravens’ defensive priority has always been to stop the run first.

Considering the Pittsburgh Steelers have a top-tier rushing attack and a fourth-string quarterback helming the offense, the game plan for Sunday could be considered Defense 101.

The Ravens must stop talented running back Rashard Mendenhall and make Charlie Batch beat them with his arm.

“We say it every week, but [stopping the run is] definitely No. 1 on our list this week,” said linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Considering the 144 rushing yards the Ravens gave up to Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis last weekend, it’s going to take a better effort against Mendenhall if the Ravens are to keep the ball in Batch’s hand.

“If we come out and we play against the run like we did last week, we’re going to get our [butts] handed to us,” Suggs added.

Mendenhall already has two 100-yard rushing games to his credit this year, having gained 120 yards in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons and 143 yards last weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Meanwhile, Batch carries a 1-3 record against the Ravens and a 22-28 all-time record as a starter.

Known as more of a stationary passer with neither the size (6-foot-2, 216 pounds) nor arm strength of the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Ben Roethlisberger, Batch does not have a history of gaudy numbers.

The longtime backup’s best season came in 2006, when he played in eight games (starting one) and finished with a 121.0 quarterback rating. His top statistical year was the 2000 campaign, when he set career highs in completions (221), attempts (412), passing yards (2,489) and touchdowns (13) over 15 starts for a 9-7 Detroit Lions squad.

Still, as much as the Ravens need to focus on the Steelers’ third-ranked rushing attack, which averages 150.0 yards per game, it would be a mistake to overlook the eldest statesman on the field.

Considering his experience, the Ravens will approach Batch’s game with respect at Heinz Field.

“He’s a guy who’s won a lot of games, started a lot games [and] has had so much success,” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. “He really understands offensive football and fits into their package really well.”

Added linebacker Ray Lewis: “Charlie Batch has been around for a long time, and he’s been around for a reason – because he is a veteran presence who understands the game of football. Whether we shut down the run or not, the bottom line is we can’t let him throw the ball all over the field.”

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