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Thursday, November 29, 2012
Arm strength is concern for Big Ben

By Jamison Hensley

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said "there's always a chance" that he could play Sunday in Baltimore, but he doesn't sound like a quarterback who plans to do so.

A determining factor for Roethlisberger is arm strength. In addition to a dislocated rib, Roethlisberger is dealing with a sprained right shoulder. Asked if the issue is pain or arm strength, Roethlisberger said "both."

Arm strength is a big issue for the Steelers heading into the rematch with the Ravens. If Roethlisberger doesn't play, the Steelers will turn to Charlie Batch, who has questionable arm strength as well. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Batch completed 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) passes Sunday in Cleveland with two interceptions on throws more than 10 yards downfield, including 0-of-5 targeting Mike Wallace with an interception.

In other words, it doesn't look like the Ravens have to worry about the deep pass against Pittsburgh. Even though the Ravens have the 23rd-ranked pass defense, they have limited the long passes downfield. Baltimore has allowed four passes over 40 yards, which ranks in the top 10 in fewest given up this season.

The Steelers, however, are getting back wide receiver Antonio Brown. In the three games that Brown has been out, the Steelers have managed a total of three touchdowns on offense. In Brown's last game against the Ravens, he had five catches for 109 yards.