PITTSBURGH — The cartilage in Ben Roethlisberger's aching left knee is repaired.
And while the Steelers are optimistic their franchise quarterback will return sooner rather than later after tweaking the knee in the second quarter of a miserable loss in Miami on Sunday, the odds of Roethlisberger being ready for a visit from the Patriots six days removed from the operating table is remote.
Roethlisberger rested at home Monday after his arthroscopic surgery and Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said the team is confident Roethlisberger won't be out "long term."
But teammates began rallying around their backup now facing the most daunting task of his uneven career.
Your turn, Landry Jones. Again.
"I'm going to prepare like I've done in the past and we'll see what happens," Jones said.
Any chance Pittsburgh has of hanging in there against surging New England depends on it. Jones, the former Oklahoma star taken in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, has made two career starts, both last season.
The Steelers went 1-1 in those games, though the win comes with an asterisk because he left early with an ankle injury and Roethlisberger came on to guide a blowout of Cleveland.
Kaepernick remains starter against Bucs
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Colin Kaepernick will remain the starting quarterback this week as the 49ers begin preparations to host the Bucs next Sunday. He started Sunday's loss against Buffalo, completing 13 of 29 passes for 187 yards and adding 66 yards on eight carries,
"Colin will be our quarterback against Tampa Bay," coach Chip Kelly said Monday. "I think there's some things he did Sunday that he can build upon."
Kelly said Blaine Gabbert would remain the backup quarterback with former FSU standout Christian Ponder at No. 3.
Cardinals 28, Jets 3: David Johnson ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns as host Arizona rolled. The Jets pulled starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was 16 of 31 for 174 yards and an interception, in favor of Geno Smith, who also threw an interception. Carson Palmer was 23-for-34 for 213 yards and a touchdown to Michael Floyd. The Jets wore No. 90 decals on their helmets as a tribute to former defensive lineman Dennis Byrd, who was killed Sunday at age 50 in a car crash in Oklahoma.
Broncos: Coach Gary Kubiak, 55, returned to work a week after his doctor ordered him to take time off. Kubiak missed Thursday's loss to the Chargers after suffering a complex migraine following Denver's loss to Atlanta on Oct. 9.
Browns: Starting safety Jordan Poyer could be lost for the season after sustaining a lacerated kidney. Poyer remained hospitalized in Nashville.
Cowboys: Dez Bryant should be ready to return from a knee injury when Dallas comes back from the bye for a game Oct. 30 against Philadelphia. But Jason Garrett said quarterback Tony Romo, out all season with a back injury, is not ready to return to practice.