While Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a 43-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees — two quarterbacks who, like Brady, are among the most experienced in the NFL — went down with injuries that could alter the course of the 2019 season. Roethlisberger will miss the remainder of the season, after all, while Brees is expected to be sidelined for at around six weeks.
Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game against the Seattle Seahawks: the 37-year-old played the first half but had to leave the contest and make way for second-year passer Mason Rudolph after injuring his elbow late in the second quarter. On Monday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin finally announced that he would undergo surgery and in turn will miss the rest of the season:
Ben Roethlisberger had an MRI on his right elbow Sunday evening and it was determined by the Steelers’ medical team that surgery will be required. We expect the surgery will be scheduled for this week. He will be placed on our Reserve/Injured List and is out for the season.
With Roethlisberger out, the Steelers will move forward with Rudolph as their starting quarterback. The former third-round draft pick was solid filling in for the injured starter on Sunday, completing 12 of 19 pass attempts for 112 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. That being said, he is a downgrade from the veteran he is replacing — which in turn could severely hurt Pittsburgh’s chances of remaining competitive in the AFC North.
Meanwhile, there is a chance that Roethlisberger has played his final game in the NFL. At age 37 and with numerous ailments on his résumé, it would not be a major surprise if the 2004 first-round draft pick and two-time Super Bowl champion decided to call it a career. Roethlisberger, after all, has reportedly flirted with retirement previously.
The Steelers’ passer is not the only veteran quarterback to get injured on Sunday. As noted above, the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees is also dealing with an injury that is expected to cost him some time: Brees injured his throwing hand on just his ninth snap against the Los Angeles Rams, missing the remainder of the game. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the 40-year-old suffered ligament damage in his thumb.
With Brees expected to undergo surgery, he could miss around six weeks. In that time, the 1-1 Saints will turn to former first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater to fill in for the future Hall of Famer. Bridgewater had a tough time agains the Rams on Sunday, but is considered to be one of the better backup options in the NFL. The next few weeks will show whether or not that is indeed the case — and if the Saints will still be in contention for a playoff spot upon Brees’ return.