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Ben who?

Ah, those football fates.

The Pittsburgh Steelers came close to cutting yeoman quarterback Charlie Batch. At 35 and supposedly not as durable as desired, he became the odd man out even as starter Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for conduct unbecoming an NFL player. After all, the Steelers had brought back Byron Leftwich and had Dennis Dixon in the fold.

But then Messrs. Leftwich and Dixon were hurt in games one and two, respectively. And that left Mr. Batch. Perhaps we should rephrase that: Thank God for Charlie Batch.

Batch, in his first start in nearly three years, showed just how durable he is by pacing the Steelers to a 38-13 victory at Tampa Bay on Sunday, throwing for three touchdown passes. Yes, he threw two interceptions but it was Batch who ignited an offense that had to be saved by the defense in the first two games.

The Steelers are 3-0 as they prepare to host the always ornery Baltimore Ravens, 2-1, on Sunday. And expect Batch to start.

But the question for the Steelers is, should Batch offer a repeat stellar performance, who will the starter be when Pittsburgh returns to action after its bye week at Heinz Field against the Cleveland Browns• Mr. Roethlisberger's suspension will be over.

That's a no-brainer: Charlie Batch.

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