Is it just me, or does it seem like whenever the Steelers have played the Baltimore Ravens over the past several seasons, there has been an unusually high probability that Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch, or even Dennis Dixon would have to start at quarterback instead of Ben Roethlisberger?
The Steelers face the Ravens for the first time this season on Sunday, and Byron Leftwich will be starting at quarterback. They also play them again in two weeks, and it’s not clear if Roethlisberger will be back. Could the team be any more unlucky?
Can the Steelers beat the Ravens without Big Ben? And without Troy Polamalu? And Antonio Brown? And Marcus Gilbert?
Lest we become too depressed, let’s also remember that the Ravens have their share of injuries. Ray Lewis is out. Jimmy Smith is out. Lardarius Webb is out. And without them, the Ravens’ defense hasn’t been nearly as stingy as it once was. In fact, the Raven’s defense is ranked 28th in the NFL. They’re allowing almost 400 yards of offense per game. They allow over 130 rushing yards per game. That’s definitely not the Ravens’ defense that we’ve all come to know and hate.
But despite their shaky defense, the Ravens have still been successful this year. That’s because the old Ravens that we knew, you know, the ones who had to rely on their defense to win games because their offense sucked, no longer exist. Instead, the Steelers will face a Ravens team that has actually been relying on a competent offense to win games.
Baltimore’s quarterback, Joe Flacco, is actually the 11th ranked QB in the NFL. He’s averaging almost 260 passing yards per game. In case you’re curious, that’s more than Big Ben is averaging. But we should note that Flacco also has fewer TD passes, and more interceptions than Ben. So overall, Ben has a significantly better passer rating than Flacco. But regardless of that, Flacco is certainly having a good season.
And as usual, the Ravens’ offense will rely heavily on running back RayRice. Rice is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He’s also scored 7 touchdowns this season.
But regardless of what Baltimore does on offense or defense, the real key to this game is going to be Byron Leftwich. Leftwich only has 5 starts in the past 5 years. So starting isn’t something that he’s done a lot of lately. But prior to that, Leftwich was a regular starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he led his team to a lot of victories. I’m certain that Leftwich is more than capable of leading the Steelers to a few more.
I know that some Steelers fans don’t agree with me, but I have confidence in Byron Leftwich. And if he gets injured, I also have confidence in Charlie Batch. So I’m not really concerned about the quarterback position going into Sunday’s game. Byron is going to do well. More importantly, the Steelers are going to beat the Ravens and leave the game tied for 1st place in the AFC North. You heard it here first.