Charlie Batch, QB Pittsburgh Steelers
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Martavis Bryant rejoined his teammates Friday after serving his four-game drug suspension, and it’s not a moment too soon for the Steelers, whose anemic passing game was one of the many reasons they fell to the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night, 23-20, in overtime at Heinz Field.
New quarterback Mike Vick, subbing for injured Ben Roethlisberger, threw for just 124 yards, the fewest in a game for the Steelers since September 19, 2010, when they managed just 21 in a 19-11 victory in Tennessee. Backups Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon played quarterback for the Steelers that game while Roethlisberger was serving a four-game suspension.
Bryant, who had 26 receptions for 549 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie in 2014, should help Vick immensely. The Ravens double-teamed All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown and held him to five receptions for 42 yards.
Vick and Bryant didn’t play together much in the preseason, but when they did it was spectacular, the story claims. In Vick’s first game with the Steelers against the Buffalo Bills in the fourth preseason game, his first pass was a 63-yarder to Bryant. Later in the drive, Bryant drew a pass-interference penalty in the end zone that set up a touchdown. In one half, Bryant finished with three receptions from Vick for 138 yards. The hope is Bryant's presence could also prevent double teams on Brown. Overall, Bryant's return should mean good news for the Steelers offense.
Schedule difficulty based on schedule-adjusted, positional defensive ranking. Top DEF = 1, bottom DEF = 32.