Roethlisberger and Brees Injuries Deal Blows to Two Playoff Hopefuls

Two playoff contenders got the news every team dreads on Monday: a serious injury that will keep their starting quarterback out.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the news was worse. Ben Roethlisberger will need surgery on his elbow, Coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement. He is out for the season.

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints will be out about six weeks recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his throwing hand, the NFL Network and other news outlets reported.

Roethlisberger, 37, has been synonymous with the Steelers nearly the entire century, starting at least 11 games every season since his rookie year of 2004. He has missed significant time only twice in his career. He served a four-game suspension for violating the N.F.L.’s personal conduct policy in 2010 after he was accused of sexual assault. The Georgia police ultimately decided not to charge him in the case. He also sat out four games with a sprained medial collateral ligament in 2015. He led the team to Super Bowl victories after the 2005 and 2008 regular seasons.

Now the Saints will turn to Teddy Bridgewater, who started one game last season. He was last a regular starter with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015, when he made the Pro Bowl. But he missed 2016 with a serious leg injury and never got his job back. Bridgewater was 17 for 30 for 165 yards subbing for Brees on Sunday. He had no touchdowns or interceptions.

Another option for the Saints is Taysom Hill, a quarterback from Brigham Young who is nominally the third-stringer but who has been playing a variety of roles for the team, including rushing and catching passes. Hill completed three of seven pass attempts for the team in 2018.

The Saints’ next six games are a mixed bag. Away games at Seattle next week, and at Jacksonville and Chicago in October could all be tricky, as could a home game against the Cowboys. Despite Brees’s absence, the Saints will hope for wins in home games against the Buccaneers and Cardinals.

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