"Murphy's Law personified," the linebacker posted to Twitter on Monday.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Murphy's Law is an adage that states "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."
In Sunday's loss to Miami, the Steelers allowed over 470 yards to the league's fourth-worst offense, including 204 rushing yards to the unheralded Jay Ajayi. Ben Roethlisberger, whose 8.6 QBR rating for the day was the worst single-game mark of his career, tore the meniscus in his left knee. Roethlisberger underwent a successful meniscectomy Monday afternoon in Pittsburgh, though the team has yet to set a target date for his return. For what it's worth, meniscectomies - which are less invasive than meniscus repair procedures - typically require a two to six week recovery period. With the Steelers on bye, Roethlisberger could conceivably return for Pittsburgh's Week 9 meeting with the Baltimore Ravens, missing only one game (albeit, Pittsburgh's biggest game of the season) in the process.
That, as they say, is the best case scenario.
If Roethlisberger misses, say, the full six weeks (or longer), he will miss games against Baltimore, Dallas, Cleveland, Indianapolis and New York. That slate doesn't represent a particularly formidable stretch, but given Pittsburgh's proclivity to lose to lesser teams (with the exception of Dallas, who could give Pittsburgh issues even with a healthy Roethlisberger), an extended period without the star quarterback could severely impede Pittsburgh's Super Bowl aspirations.
And that, as they say, is for the pessimists.
For the rest of us, Pittsburgh's season is far from over, as explained in convenient list form below:
The rest of the schedule is, like, not even that bad
Roethlisberger, barring some sort of Disney movie comeback, will be wearing a baseball cap on the sidelines as the Steelers battle New England next week. Las Vegas has rightly made the Steelers a 7.5-point home underdog (I would personally bet against the spread, but it's your money), but, keep in mind, Landry Jones led the Steelers to a pretty convincing 25-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at home last season. Those same Cardinals finished the season 13-3 and played in the NFC Championship game. Even if the Steelers lose to New England, they hit the bye week at 4-3 with some time to get stuff figured out. After that, Pittsburgh plays two games against the Ravens, who have now dropped three straight games after a surprising 3-0 start, and two games against the Browns, who have a legitimate shot at 0-16. Dallas and Buffalo both promise to be incredibly difficult matchups, though Pittsburgh has (Ajayi's performance notwithstanding) been pretty solid against the run this season. Indianapolis and New York will both test Pittsburgh's weak secondary, but both teams have enough defensive issues that Pittsburgh should be able to move the ball around well enough. 10-6 probably wins the AFC North this season, which is a mark that is more than attainable for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh can still do other stuff pretty well
Dallas and Buffalo rank first and fifth, respectively, in the NFL in rushing attempts, and first and second, respectively, in rushing yards per game. Combined, these teams are 9-3, and their respective rushing studs, Ezekiel Elliott and LeSean McCoy, should absolutely be in the MVP discussion.
The Steelers have a pretty decent offensive line (despite many of your complaints, the Steelers averaged nearly five yards per carry against Miami (minus Darrius Heyward-Bey's 60-yard touchdown) and allowed only two sacks) and a more-than-decent running back in Le'Veon Bell. After Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury last season, Bell averaged over 20 rushes and 110 yards per game in the star quarterback's absence. In four games without Roethlisberger, the Steelers went 2-2, and just narrowly missed 3-1 due in large part to Josh Scobee's inability to kick field goals.
For those of you who miss the old school Steelers who "did things that right way," expect Todd Haley and Co. to run Bell into the ground during the next game or two.
Obviously, Ben Roethlisberger is Pittsburgh's preeminent catalyst, and his presence is absolutely integral to Pittsburgh's postseason hopes. However, the Steelers still have other places in place that made them Super Bowl contenders in the first place, so it will be up to these players to keep the ship afloat until Roethlisberger returns. Pittsburgh constantly loses to bad teams, so it's hard to look at Sunday's performance against Miami as anything more than a typical "playing down to the opponent" loss. If the players and coaches can make adjustments (and they can, as they've proven time and time again), the Steelers will be just fine. In the long term, anyway.