PITTSBURGH – (Wire Service Report) – With Ben Roethlisberger’s surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, the Steelers likely will turn to backup Landry Jones for their home game against the Patriots Sunday at Heinz Field. Roethlisberger injured his knee in the first half of a 30-15 loss in Miami. He came back in the second half after team doctors told him he could not do any further damage to the injury.
The Steelers confirmed the surgery Monday afternoon but did not provide a timetable for his return. Coach Mike Tomlin did say the injury is not “long term.”
Jones fueled the fire that Roethlisberger might not miss a game when he volunteered to reporters Monday afternoon that Phillip Rivers had similar surgery before the AFC championship game following the 2007 season and came back to play six days later.
This is a completely different circumstance with much less on the line. Pittsburgh is 4-2 and in first place in the AFC North, and has a bye week following the Patriots game.
Jones made one start last season and lost, 23-13, in Kansas City. But the most recent memory for Steelers fans is a relief performance against the Bengals in the AFC wild card game they’d rather forget.
Jones was 2 for 5 and threw an interception after Roethlisberger injured his shoulder in that game. Only a late Bengals fumble and a heroic final drive from Roethlisberger saved Pittsburgh on that night.
“He’s grown,” offensive lineman Ramon Foster said. “This will be the full test. This is a good team coming in, a good defense. He’s thrown into the fire.”
The Steelers could not get out of their own way against the Dolphins, who entered the game with a 1-4 record. This was latest in a long series of losses to bad teams.
Pittsburgh insisted last week they were a different team. Those bad losses to bad teams in previous seasons were in the rear view mirror. The 2016 team was going to be the one to change the fortunes and the habits of losing to inferior teams.
Better luck next year.
New England 35, Cincinnati 17
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, October 16, 2016
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
FOXBOROUGH – (Wire Service Report) – Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes in his 2016 home debut and the New England defense came up with two huge contributions as the Patriots downed the Cincinnati Bengals 35-17 on Sunday. Brady, suspended for the first four games of the season because of his role in Deflategate and a winner in Cleveland in his return last week, threw two TD passes to running back James White and one to Rob Gronkowski while also going over the 5,000-completion mark for his career.
In improving to 49-1 at home against AFC opponents with Brady at the helm since 2006, the Patriots (5-1) scored 15 points in 4:07 in the third quarter to take control of the game. The defense, which looked shaky much of the day, staged a first-half, goal-line stand and also came up with a safety — Dont’a Hightower sacking Andy Dalton in the end zone.
Hearing chants of “Brady, Brady, Brady,” the quarterback, taking advantage of a crucial third down penalty call against the Bengals, hit five straight passes for 74 yards and a first-half touchdown, then was 4 of 4 for 69 yards on another. Brady finished 29 of 35 for 376 yards — his 73rd 300-yard passing game and second straight since returning — and was sacked three times. Brady is 57 of 75 for 782 yards, six TDs and no interceptions in his two games back.
Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady Reunited at Foxborough
NEW YORK – (Wire Service Report) – NFL owners reportedly have approached the NFL Players Association multiple times in recent months about negotiating an extension to the current collective bargaining agreement. The owners plan to initiate those discussions again soon with the NFLPA, sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
According to the report, one reason the owners want an extension is because they have exhausted all of the stadium credits that were negotiated in the 10-year deal with the players that was signed in 2011. The league wants to secure money to help fund a stadium in Las Vegas for the Oakland Raiders and possibly another facility in San Diego, sources told ESPN.
The NFLPA continues to strive toward what it believes should be a more equitable system of dealing with player issues. The union wants to limit NFL commissioner Roger Goodell‘s control over discipline, especially after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate.
DALLAS – (Special to Digital Sports Desk — Wire Service Report) – Hall of Famer Roger Staubach feels the Dallas Cowboys should stick with rookie Dak Prescott as their starting quarterback as long as they continue to win, even if Tony Romo is healthy enough to play. Staubach has been impressed with Prescott leading the Cowboys to a 4-1 start while Romo recovers from a fractured back he suffered in the preseason.
Staubach, who was at AT&T Stadium early Friday morning to speak to about 600 Air Force cadets who spent the night on the field ahead of the New Mexico-Air Force football game Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, knows exactly what Romo is going through right now.
“Tony is a fantastic football player,” Staubach said, via the Dallas Morning News. “We won the Super Bowl in 1971 and I separated my shoulder in the exhibition season of ’72, and Craig Morton was the quarterback and took over and when I came back healthy probably eight or nine games later — that was a 14-game schedule — Craig was winning. We were winning as a team. I understood it. The momentum was there and you don’t want to mess around with the quarterback position and Craig was playing very well. I didn’t really play very much until the playoff game against the 49ers that year and I understood it. ‘I’m still a good player and they’re hopefully still going to need me sometime.’
“Tony is going to heal. He’s going to be ready to play if they need him if something happens to Dak. I think Tony wants to win and he’ll do what it takes to win and if they keep Dak in there to keep the momentum going I think he’ll understand that. But he hasn’t told me that, by the way.”