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Ben Roethlisberger has surgery to repair meniscus

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for Week 7 versus the New England Patriots.

Roethlisberger underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, coach Mike Tomlin announced Monday via a team statement. Tomlin added no timetable has been set for the veteran quarterback's return, but the Steelers are confident the injury is not long-term.

The 34-year-old signal-caller played through pain in the second half of Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins after missing part of the second quarter with the injury. Roethlisberger said he "felt something funny" in his knee after the game, per NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala.

After hosting the Pats in Week 7, the Steelers go on bye in Week 8 and travel to Baltimore for a divisional showdown with the Ravens in Week 9.

Whereas the Patriots survived Tom Brady's early-season absence with recent high draft picks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, the Steelers have neglected to upgrade their quarterback insurance.

The dropoff from Roethlisberger to Landry Jones is as steep as any starter-to-backup transition in the league.

A scattershot Jones managed a 58.2 completion rate and 77.3 passer rating on 55 attempts as Roethlisberger's stand-in last season.

Roethlisberger directs a high-octane, pass-heavy attack, relentlessly attacking defenses with accurate strikes down the field. From what we've seen in preseason and regular-season action over the past few seasons, coordinator Todd Haley will scale back the offense for Jones, opting to build game plans around the backfield duo of Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams.

Since the start of the 2015 season, the Steelers have averaged 27.5 points, 405.4 total yards, 308.1 passing yards and 97.3 rushing yards per game with Roethlisberger under center. Without Roethlisberger, those numbers plummet to 20.5 points, 315.3 total yards, 162.8 passing yards and 152.5 rushing yards, per NFL Research.

Roethlisberger is an MVP candidate and one of the most important offensive players in football. The first-place Steelers can survive his absence in the short term. If he ends up missing extended time, though, the AFC North door will swing wide open for the Ravens and Bengals.

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