NFL notebook: Steelers again turn to ageless Batch
BY Associated Press
Friday, November 23, 2012
11/23/12 at 3:08 AM
Mike Wallace is in his fourth season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, so the wide receiver is familiar with all this talk about Charlie Batch.
Asked if it was at all concerning that the man throwing the ball to him on Sunday will soon be 38 years old, Wallace shrugged.
"He's been old," he said of Batch. "It's not like he just got old. Chuck's been old since I got here, so it's nothing new."
Neither is Batch making a fill-in start for his hometown Steelers (6-4), who are at Cleveland (2-8) this weekend. For the eighth time since he signed with Pittsburgh 11 years ago, Batch will be under center to begin a game for the Steelers.
No other Steeler is older than Batch, whose birthday is Dec. 5. He spent the first four years of his career with Detroit, but only nose tackle Casey Hampton was with Pittsburgh before Batch arrived.
"They say Charlie built the building," guard Willie Colon deadpanned. "That's what I heard."
Teammates might enjoy yukking it up when it comes to Batch's age, but they're happy they have him and more content than could be reasonably expected for an NFL team down to its third-string quarterback.
"I feel comfortable with Charlie," Wallace said. "I feel like he can lead us to victory any game he plays in. Just two years ago when we played with him the first four games we were 3-1."
Batch started two of those early season games while Ben Roethlisberger served a four-game suspension and Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon sat out with injuries.
This season, Roethlisberger and Leftwich both have rib injuries. Leftwich relieved Roethlisberger two weeks ago in a win over Kansas City and started this past Sunday's loss to Baltimore.
Broncos' Prater denied shot at historic kick: If only Lance Ball could have found the umpire faster, Matt Prater might just have written his name in the record books.
The Denver Broncos had crossed midfield and Prater was all set to try a 67-yard field goal right before halftime in their 30-23 win over San Diego, but the clock ran out before the umpire could spot the ball for Peyton Manning to spike.
"We've got to do a better job as coaches practicing that under pressure," coach John Fox said.
After all, the men who share the NFL record for longest field goal at 63 yards - David Akers, Jason Elam, Tom Dempsey and Sebastian Janikowski - all say the strong-legged Prater has the best chance to break the mark, especially in Denver's thin air.
Prater is an anomaly among NFL players who make a living with their legs: the farther from the goal posts, the better he gets. He makes 93 percent of his attempts from 39 yards and in but just 61 percent from 40-49 yards (22-of-36), then 75 percent from 50-plus.