FOXBORO, Mass. – After winning two games in a row with Bailey Zappe at the helm, the Patriots turned back to Mac Jones on Monday night after the quarterback looked to have recovered from a left ankle injury.
After an ugly start by Jones, they turned back to Zappe, who got them two quick scores and seemed to have them going in the right direction. New England’s quarterback play, however, didn’t end up mattering at all. The Patriots defense got gashed by Chicago all night long, and lost to the Bears 33-14.
Here’s a look a look at the scoring drives from Monday night:
Patriots 0 – Bears 3 | 8 plays, 42 yards – Cairo Santos 42-yard FG
Patriots 0 – Bears 10 | 7 plays, 56 yards – Justin Fields 3-yard TD
Patriots 7 – Bears 10 | 4 plays, 55 yards – Jakobi Meyers 30-yard TD
Patriots 14 – Bears 10 | 3 plays, 50 yards – Rhamondre Stevenson 4-yard TD
Patriots 14 – Bears 17 | 9 plays, 75 yards – Khalil Herbert 25-yard TD
Patriots 14 – Bears 20 | 7 plays, 32 yards – Cairo Santos 23-yard FG
Patriots 14 – Bears 23 | 10 plays, 56 yards – Cairo Santos 38-yard FG
Patriots 14 – Bears 26 | 10 plays, 46 yards – Cairo Santos 50-yard FG
Patriots 14 – Bears 33 | 8 plays, 39 yards – David Montgomery 1-yard TD
The impending quarterback controversy in New England is far from the only thing to talk about after tonight. Here re my five takeaways:
5. New England’s defense got embarrassed by a bottom-five offense.
Before I go in on the Patriots defense from Monday night, I should preface it with the fact that they were without Christian Barmore on the inside, and without Kyle Dugger on the backend for the majority of the game.
That being said, New England got absolutely gashed by the Chicago Bears offense – a unit that has been awful in 2022 up until Monday.
Justin Fields had 179 yards in the air, 82 yards on the ground, and two total touchdowns for the Bears, while also leading them to an astounding 11-18 on third down. They also dominated the time of possession battle, 37:14 to 22:46.
The New England defense was the reason they lost this game.
4. Jake Bailey is a lost cause.
New England’s punter Jake Bailey, a first team All-Pro in 2020 and normally a special teams weapon for the Patriots, has been awful this season.
He used to be a legitimate threat to flip the field on every possession, and now he’s a liability at the position. He averaged just 40 yards per punt today and allowed the Chicago offense great field position at just about every turn.
3. Zappe Fever is quite the disease.
After three unsuccessful scoring drives, the third of which ended in a brutal interception for Mac Jones, the Patriots turned to Bailey Zappe for an offensive spark.
Well, it worked… sort’ve. On Zappe’s first two drives, he led the New England offense into the end zone twice. First with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers, and again with a 43-yard strike to DeVante Parker that they followed up with a 4-yard Rhamondre Stevenson touchdown run.
He had Gillette Stadium bumping, and it felt like New England had a franchise quarterback again.
Unfortunately, he had a brutal second half, and ended the game with three turnovers.
2. The Patriots offense did Mac Jones zero favors.
Clearly, turning to Zappe for a spark worked for a while. However I don’t think this is the time to harp on Mac Jones either.
The play calling, the execution, and the penalties on offense were horrendous tonight, especially on the first three drive. Yes, Jones did have a brutal decision on an interception, but they hardly set anything up for him, once again running empty sets with no play-action called and basically saying “let’s see it kid.”
1. The Patriots don’t have a quarterback controversy on their hands, but they have a real problem.
I’ve stood pat for a while on Mac Jones, but even I can admit that after what I saw at Gillette Stadium tonight, it’s hard to think that this team doesn’t have a QB controversy.
However, after giving the Patriots offense a quick jolt in the first half, Bailey Zappe all but gave the job away again in the second half. Neither QB was great, and there are certainly some decisions to make – but I am a firm believer in Mac Jones moving forward.
However, what’s happening in the New England quarterback room as a whole is football malpractice to the highest degree. Bill Belichick, Mac Jones, and Bailey Zappe all said that they knew the plan was for both QB’s to play tonight. However, many offensive players in the New England locker room said that they were not aware of the plan to play 2 QB’s. That cannot happen. Period. It’s going to ruin your franchise quarterback.
New England will be right back at it as they will travel to New York this coming weekend to take on the Jets from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
Also be sure to check out our new sports betting Twitter account @CLNSBetting for all the latest odds and content from CLNS Media.