The Ravens' defense won't have to worry about being haunted Sunday by elusive Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, one of the best improvisational players in the league.
Instead, they'll try to exploit the emergency presence of struggling Steelers third-string quarterback Charlie Batch with Roethlisberger officially ruled out for Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium due to a sprained right shoulder and dislocated rib suffered during an overtime win over the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this month.
Batch, 37, uncorked three interceptions last week in a loss to the Cleveland Browns, completing just 20 of 34 passes for 199 yards in his first start this season.
"We're ready for whoever they put out there," Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones said. "It's not about them. It's about us. We've got to take care of business at home.
"Batch's a good player. He's been in the league for a long time. He knows how to win. If he didn't, he wouldn't be the backup quarterback. We're ready to face him."
The last time the Ravens played the Steelers without Roethlisberger in the lineup two weeks ago, they won a taut 13-10 thriller where Pittsburgh backup quarterback Byron Leftwich threw one interception and broke his ribs.
The Steelers have now lost both of the games Roethlisberger has missed this season.
"We have a great game plan regardless of who's at the helm and playing quarterback," cornerback Cary Williams said. "This league doesn't stop, and we understand the importance of this game."
Prior to Roethlisberger being ruled out, Ravens coach John Harbaugh compared his potential dramatic return to NBA legend Willis Reed.
"I'm expecting to see Willis Reed come jogging down the tunnel," Harbaugh said. "I tried it with the players. Most of them didn't know Willis Reed, so it didn't go over."
Ravens starting inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe characterized his status as a last-minute decision heading into Sunday.
Ellerbe acknowledged he was extremely limited Friday when he returned to practice after missing the previous two days because of a right foot and ankle injury suffered against the San Diego Chargers.
"We'll see how it feels," Ellerbe said. "It's going to be a game-time. I'm getting better every day."
Ellerbe said the swelling has gone down, but indicated he didn't do much at practice Friday.
"I'm ready to go," said Ellerbe, who also has a knee injury, a broken thumb and a sprained thumb. "It went slow. I didn't do nothing today. .. The swelling, they say it's looking good. It's just the strength. I didn't turn it, somebody fell on it. I can't stop that."
If Ellerbe is unable to play or handle a full workload, special-teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo would step in for him. Albert McClellan is expected to rotate inside, too.
"We definitely need Ellerbe on this championship run," Ayanbadejo said. "But if my name is called I'll always be ready."
Ravens tight end Ed Dickson is doubtful with a sprained and bruised right knee. He didn't practice all week and is regarded as a long shot to play Sunday.
Defensive end Pernell McPhee (right knee, thigh) and cornerback Chris Johnson (strained hamstring) are questionable.