New England Patriots (3-4) – Chicago Bears (3-4): 14-33
Between the 11th and the 15th choice of the 2021 Draft, there was no match. Justin Fields (13/21, 179 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT + 14 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD) led Chicago to a big victory, walking (and running, especially) on the New England defense. After missing 3 matches due to an ankle injury, Mac Jones (3/6, 13 yards, 1 INT) struggled at first, before being pushed out by his coach and his audience.
His replacement Bailey Zappe (14/22, 185 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) relaunched the attack, but then fell into line. Between one and the other, the hearts of Pats fans may swing, but since neither has provided the solution, there is now a problem. And the coaching staff must now go in search of an answer.
Mac Jones overdue
We had left the Patriots victorious against the Browns, with a boss-sized Bailey Zappe. We find them against Chicago, with the return of the boss to lead his troops. But from the first series, Mac Jones seems to lack juice and ideas. His attack does not advance, the attempts follow each other and look alike, each meter is difficult to win. For their part, the Bears take the opportunity to settle, Justin Fields finds his targets and even allows himself to serve N’Keal Harry. The 23-year-old quarterback finishes the groundwork and his team leads 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
After two very sad series from their proteges, Pats fans give voice in the spans of Gillette Stadium. And this voice carries a message: it calls for Bailey Zappe to enter the field. Bill Belichick lets Mac Jones start the third set and, after hearing the name of his replacement, number 10 forgets about his sore ankle and finds some space with his legs. But he still can’t break free in the aerial realm, and when he tries to force his fate, he is intercepted by Jaquan Brisker.
Bailey Zappe lights the fire
Negative action, reaction. Mac Jones joins the bench, Bailey Zappe takes control. In two strokes, three passes, the rookie sets fire and does what he wants with the Chicago defense. An offering to Jakobi Meyers for 30 yards and the Patriots are back (7-10). Justin Fields does try to put out the fire, but he adds fuel to the fire, being intercepted by Myles Bryant. In front of a public in fusion, Zappe continues on its rhythm and connects with DeVante Parker, for 43 yards. Rhamondre Stevenson concludes, New England is in front (14-10). In a few minutes, the story of this meeting has changed.
DeVante Parker OH MY 😮
— NFL (@NFL) October 25, 2022
But there are still two teams on the field and, if Matthew Judon does what he can to slow down Justin Fields, the number 1 is elusive in the humidity of Foxborough and, with a little success, he sends Khalil Herbert in the end zone (14-17). This time, Zappe and his teammates are stopped and, on a bad transmission between the quarterback and Jakobi Meyers, the Bears regain possession. Enough to add a field goal by Cairo Santos, just before halftime (14-20).
Chicago puts out the fire
The Chicago kicker returns to the field, to conclude the first series of the third quarter and restore two possessions to his team, after a long run from Dante Pettis (14-23). Roquan Smith sends Zappe back to his studies and, without really panicking, Matt Eberflus’ men seem to have regained control of operations. And if they don’t manage to go all the way, they continue to collect and can thank Cairo Santos, always perfect (14-26).
The Pats have therefore once again the obligation to react, but this time, no electroshock. Chicago remains on very good defensive bases and David Montgomery confirms the domination of his team, with a powerful touchdown (14-33). The public is extinguished, Bailey Zappe too, he can do nothing when one of his passes is deflected, then intercepted by Roquan Smith. The star linebacker kills the suspense: there are less than 8 minutes left and the Bears will win.
Nothing, except a second interception for Bailey Zappe, in the hands of Kyler Gordon. After an insipid loss against Washington, Chicago is recovering in place, winning on the ground of New England for the first time since 1986. For their part, the Patriots may have found a problem, looking for a solution. Mac Jones undoubtedly took his morale with him on the bench and, even if he revived his attack within the space of a quarter, Zappe could not avoid the large defeat of his team.
The question is therefore obvious: who will be the quarterback of the Patriots on Sunday, against the Jets?