Patriots

Ben Roethlisberger out for season in crushing blow for Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger out for season in crushing blow for Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers' poor start to the 2019 season just got a whole lot worse.

The Steelers placed Ben Roethlisberger on season-ending injured reserve Monday after an MRI revealed the quarterback will need surgery on his right elbow. Roethlisberger injured his elbow during Pittsburgh's 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, which dropped the team to 0-2 after its 33-3 defeat to the New England Patriots in Week 1.

That means Mason Rudolph is the new starting quarterback for an offense that has lost its three best skill players -- Roethlisberger, running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown -- in a matter of months.

The Steelers were expected to be playoff contenders this season and have been one of the few teams to even remotely challenge the Patriots for AFC supremacy in recent years.

Roethlisberger's injury likely will relegate them to a losing campaign, however, as New England's competition in the AFC looks shockingly weak outside the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Patrick Chung takes veiled shot at refs after Patriots-Chiefs missed calls

Patrick Chung takes veiled shot at refs after Patriots-Chiefs missed calls

The New England Patriots know better than to publicly criticize NFL officials.

But they have other means of getting their message across.

Hours after the Patriots' 23-16 loss to the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium, safety Patrick Chung went on Twitter to suggest New England was beaten by both Kansas City and its "fans."

Allow us to translate: "Fans" equals "the refs."

Chung and the Patriots had reason to believe the refs weren't on their side, as two incorrect decisions by Jerome Boger's crew cost them severely.

First, the referees missed a Travis Kelce fumble in the third quarter, blowing the play dead as Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore scooped the ball up for what would have been a return for a touchdown.

New England challenged the play and won to gain possession, but Gilmore's touchdown still was negated because the play was blown dead.

It also mean the Patriots were out of challenges, which they could have used when N'Keal Harry was incorrectly ruled as stepping out of bounds at the 3-yard line on a fourth-quarter catch.

Harry later insisted (correctly) he stayed in bounds and scored a touchdown, and drove home that point on social media by retweeting a video of the play.

You won't hear the Patriots say much more about Sunday's officiating, but the fact that they're even taking subtle Twitter shots is a sign they clearly feel aggrieved.

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Patriots vs. Chiefs Notes: Tom Brady's elbow injury 'going to be a thing'

Patriots vs. Chiefs Notes: Tom Brady's elbow injury 'going to be a thing'

FOXBORO -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady showed up to his postgame press conference Sunday with a good-sized wrap over his right elbow, but he doesn't expect the injury to prevent him from playing in next week's matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"I just got hit right on my elbow. It's fine," Brady admitted after his team's 23-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. "It'll probably be on the injury report, but I'll be there next Sunday."

Brady has been on the injury report with a right elbow issue for the last couple weeks, but he hasn't missed any snaps because of it.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Brady's practice time has been limited due to the injury and is "going to be thing" to monitor down the stretch.

The 42-year-old quarterback completed 19 of 36 pass attempts for just 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception versus the Chiefs. He's averaging only 225 passing yards per game over the last four weeks, and his completion percentage hasn't been over 60 percent in any of those matchups.

The Patriots offense has scored just 17.6 points over the last five games, and while Brady deserves his fair share of blame for these struggles, the entire unit has to play a lot better for the situation to improve. New England's only two touchdowns against the Chiefs were the result of a flea-flicker and good field position that resulted from a blocked punt. That's not good enough to win games in the regular season, let alone the playoffs.

Here are some other notes from the Patriots' loss to the Chiefs:

-- Brady isn't going to win many foot races, but he still has the ability to escape the pocket and pick up crucial first downs. His 17-yard run in the fourth quarter was a prime example.

-- The Patriots saw their 21-game home win streak snapped. In fact, with the Chiefs leading 17-7 in the second quarter, the Patriots trailed by double digits at home for the first time since the 2017 AFC Championship Game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. New England won that game, but similar heroics weren't in the cards versus a Chiefs offense that scores the third-most points per game. 

New England's streak was tied for the third-longest in league history among those that include playoff wins.

-- Another historic streak ended Sunday. The Patriots were 42-0 at home during the regular season against AFC opponents when Tom Brady and Julian Edelman both played. 

-- New England's defense has given up more big scoring plays to Kansas City than any other opponent since the start of the 2017 season. 

The Chiefs took a 10-7 lead on a 48-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman. Kansas City converted on 3rd-and-19 and 2nd-and-25 before Hardman's score.

--The Patriots received almost no production from two of their three first picks over the last two drafts. Second-year running back Sony Michel carried the ball five times and tallied eight rushing yards. He did not receive a single carry in the second half and played nine snaps overall. Rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry caught only one pass for 12 yards and played two offensive snaps.

--Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman passed Troy Brown for fourth place on the team's career receiving yards leaderboard. Brown tallied 6,366 receiving yards in his 15-year career with the Pats.

--Patriots punter Jake Bailey has enjoyed a tremendous rookie season.

--Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce ran for a touchdown in the first half, but he also made some history as a pass-catcher in the second half.

--Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland intercepted a Brady pass in the first quarter and broke up the Patriots' pass attempt on fourth down late in the fourth quarter that sealed Kansas City's victory.

Breeland sees Sunday's win over the Patriots as a significant step for the Chiefs.

"Oh yeah, it's taking us in the right direction," Breeland said. "This is the type of game that we wanted to come play to really test where we're at. We've had our ups and downs throughout the season. We felt like this was our point that really can help get us over that hump and propel us to where we want to be."

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