BALTIMORE -- As Charlie Batch stood at a podium in a sweat-soaked black T-shirt Sunday night, he took in the scene after guiding the Pittsburgh Steelers past the Baltimore Ravens.
The third-string quarterback, who turns 38 Wednesday, might not be needed to make another start in his NFL career. But if that is the case, he will have fond memories of his final one.
Filling in for Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich, who are out with injuries but are expected to return as early as next weekend, Batch completed 25 of 36 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown as the Steelers (7-5) rallied from 10 points down to win 23-20 over the first-place Ravens (9-3) to keep alive their AFC North title hopes.
"It's a long season, and no matter what, all I can ask for is another opportunity," Batch said. "Being a backup, you don't know when that's going to happen."
After throwing for just 57 yards in the first half -- a sloppy two quarters in which he missed open receivers, including overthrowing Mike Wallace in the end zone at the end of the second quarter -- Batch connected with receivers on 16 of his 20 second-half throws for 219 yards.
"It's not surprising to us. It may be to you, but not us,"
With his team down 20-13 early in the fourth quarter, Batch drove the Steelers 27 yards in four plays. He found tight end Heath Miller near the right sideline inside the 5-yard line, and Miller twisted his body and dove toward the pylon as he went out of bounds, scoring a touchdown that a video review confirmed.
After a Ravens punt, Batch moved the Steelers into position for a winning field goal.
In a 12-play, 61-yard drive that took the final 6:14 off the clock, Batch handed the ball to his running backs and completed short throws and screen passes to Wallace and Antonio Brown.
Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger shoved Batch to the ground after he threw his final pass of the game to Wallace. That roughing-the-passer penalty put the Steelers in the red zone. And after a false start and three runs for no gain, Shaun Suisham made a 42-yard field goal as time expired.
Batch also got in the way of Ravens cornerback Cary Williams on Jonathan Dwyer's 16-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, leading the back into the end zone with a downfield block.
"It shows you what kind of heart he has," Dwyer said.
And it sounds as if Batch's heart is still in the game, though he hasn't said if he will return for a 16th NFL season.
"As long as I can play, I'm going to come back," he said.
For one more Sunday at least, Batch definitely could play.