Around the AFC North: Ben Roethlisberger’s Season-Ending Injury Adds to Steelers' Pain

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A season-ending injury to Ben Roethlisberger’s throwing elbow is the latest obstacle for the Pittsburgh Steelers to overcome.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin released a statement Monday that Roethlisberger will require surgery and is out for the season.

Roethlisberger left in the second quarter of Sunday’s 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and did not return. With the 36-year-old Roethlisberger done for the season, speculation has already begun that he might never play again.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh suffered another key offensive blow when running back James Conner left in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. As of Monday afternoon, no update on Conner’s condition had been released.

The Steelers will now turn to second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph to save their season. Rudolph played well under the circumstances (12-for-19, two touchdowns, one interception) on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep Pittsburgh from falling to the Seattle Seahawks, 28-26, and two games behind the Ravens in the division.

Pittsburgh’s next game is against the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers (2-0), who will be playing their home opener after two road victories.

People already wondered how Pittsburgh’s offense would cope with the loss of former wide receiver Antonio Brown. The loss of Roethlisberger is a potentially devastating blow, but Rudolph said after Sunday’s loss that he couldn’t afford to think that way.

“I’m completely confident,” Rudolph said via ESPN. “I’ve always been confident in myself, in being the leader of the team and winning games. That’s what it ultimately comes down to. If that’s the case, then I’ll be ready to roll.”

Bengals: Tough Home Opener Draws Boos From Fans

The Bengals trailed 34-10 after three quarters during Sunday’s 41-17 loss to the 49ers. San Francisco moved the ball almost at will, with quarterback Jimmy Garopollo throwing for three touchdowns and almost 300 yards and running back Matt Breida rushing for 121 yards.

Cincinnati (0-2) was much more competitive during a season-opening loss at Seattle, but Bengals fans were restless at Sunday’s game, many of them leaving well before the game ended. First-year Head Coach Zac Taylor said he understood the booing he heard.

“We were playing poorly in all three phases,” Taylor said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It was not anything to be excited about if I was a fan in the stands that paid money to come to that game.

“It’s on us to fix the issues we have and play better and the fans will rally behind that. But right now, we didn’t give them a good enough product to be excited about.”

Browns: Cleveland Hopes to Avoid 0-2 Start on Monday Night Football

So far, the Ravens are the only AFC North team that has tasted victory. The Browns hope to change that against the New York Jets in a Monday night road game that will put the new-look Browns on display during primetime.

The Jets’ defense figures to be motivated after Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. accused Jets Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams of coaching players to deliver cheap shots. Williams has refuted that claim, but it has certainly given the Jets bulletin board material.

“We don’t do that,” Williams said via ESPN. “Never done that anywhere I’ve been.”

The Browns haven’t made the playoffs sine 2002, but entered the season with high expectations. The hype died down, however, after a lopsided loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 1. Following Monday’s game, the Browns host the Los Angeles Rams before visiting the Ravens in Week 4.

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