It’s official: The Pittsburgh Steelers will be Big Ben-less when they host the New England Patriots this Sunday at Heinz Field.
The Steelers announced Tuesday quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won’t play against the Patriots after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
“When he is healthy,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin told reporters, “he will be back with us.”
In the meantime, the Steelers likely will turn to 27-year-old backup Landry Jones. He appeared in seven games for Pittsburgh last season, starting two and completing 32 of 55 passes for 513 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw four interceptions and lost one fumble.
Though Jones lacks NFL experience, he’ll have a wealth of offensive weapons around him. The Steelers boast one of the league’s top running backs in Le’Veon Bell and one of its most dangerous wide receivers in Antonio Brown, and DeAngelo Williams and Sammie Coates also are enjoying strong seasons.
“The Steelers have a lot of good skill players,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday morning in a conference call with reporters. “(Bell) is certainly one of them but the receivers do an excellent job of attacking all areas of the field. They’ve got great vertical receivers with Coates and (Darrius) Heyward-Bey, (Markus) Wheaton, as well as Brown, of course.”
New England improved to 5-1 by beating the Cincinnati Bengals 35-17 on Sunday, while Pittsburgh fell to 4-2 after a surprising 30-15 loss to the Miami Dolphins, who’d won just once in their first five games.
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