Steelers' Batch picks apart Bucs' secondary
Anwar Richardson, The Tampa Tribune, published 27 September 2010

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' secondary seemed poised to take Pittsburgh quarterback Charlie Batch to school after two plays.

Aqib Talib intercepted Batch on the second play from scrimmage, giving Tampa Bay possession on Pittsburgh's 31-yard line and leading to a field goal. Talib was shadowing Mike Wallace and snagged Batch's pass. Even without recently suspended safety Tanard Jackson, it seemed like Batch, Pittsburgh's third string quarterback, was in for a long day.

Then, Batch taught Tampa Bay's secondary a lesson. Batch threw first-half touchdown pass of 46 and 41 yards to Wallace and 9 yards to Hines Ward in Pittsburgh's 38-13 dismantling of Tampa Bay (0-2) in front of 57,616 fans at Raymond James Stadium.

"I don't know what their game plan was, but I know they have a big time threat in Mike Wallace," Raheem Morris. "I do know they hit us deep up top against a really good player.

"They hit us with Aqib and they got him good. We missed our opportunity on two plays. "We missed an opportunity earlier in the middle and we've got to make those plays in order to stay in those football games. They did attack us up top, there is no doubt."

Batch fearlessly attacked every member of Tampa Bay's secondary as he competed 12 of 17 passes for 186 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

His first target was Cody Grimm, Tampa Bay's rookie free safety who made his first career start in place of Jackson, who was suspended for one year after a third violation of the NFL's substances of abuse policy. Wallace ran past Aqib, leaving Wallace and Grimm matched one-on-one. Batch threw the ball up for grabs, and Grimm never looked up, resulting in a 46-yard touchdown pass.

"I think besides that one long ball early, I was in the right place," Grimm said. "I just didn't make a good play on the ball. That's going to come with time."

Batch's second target was Talib. Pittsburgh faced second-and-7 on Tampa Bay's 41-yard line when Batch noticed Wallace matched up against Talib and unloaded. Talib tried to grab his second interception, but the ball bounced off his hands into the waiting arms of Wallace, who hauled in his second touchdown of the game.

"That's why he plays cornerback. They can't catch," Wallace said. "I always got to play the ball. He made a good play on it, but he dropped it and I caught it."

There were not many balls for Steelers receivers to grab in the second half. Batch threw only three passes after halftime with his team already ahead 28-6. Pittsburgh unleashed running back Rashard Mendenhall, who finished with 19 carries for 143 yards and one touchdown as members of Tampa Bay's secondary struggled to bring him down.

Those are lessons learned when being schooled. "Pittsburgh is a great team and they played a great football game," strong safety Sean Jones said. "They are physical. We matched their physicality, but it was small mistakes that hurt us. We're glad we have another week coming ahead. We have Cincinnati after this bye week and we're excited about that."