Patriots score against Bears: Justin Fields spoils Bailey Zappe's return to lineup as Chicago moves to upset 'MNF'

Patriots score against Bears: Justin Fields spoils Bailey Zappe’s return to lineup as Chicago moves to upset ‘MNF’

The Patriots entered “Monday Night Football” as 8.5-point favorites over the Bears, looking to win their third straight when Mac Jones returned to the lineup after a three-game absence. They left with rookie Bailey Zappe back under center and a Bill Belichick defense that was knocked down in Justin Fields’ best performance of the Bears’ young career. Despite Zappe’s entry which briefly ignited the Gillette Stadium crowd as well as New England’s passing offense, Fields stole the show at quarterback, headlining a ground game at the multi-faceted as Chicago beat 33-14 in prime time.

Jones, who was coming back from a sprained high ankle, didn’t even make a quarter and a half before Belichick benched him following an ugly second-quarter interception. But Zappe’s energy didn’t do much for the Pats after back-to-back practices to start his night. New England did not register their 10th first down of the contest before the start of the fourth quarter, and three turnovers – a failed transfer to Jakobi Meyers and grueling interceptions to Roquan Smith and Kyler Gordon – allowed the Bears to literally run away with victory.

Here are some takeaways from Monday night’s big Bears upset:

Why the Bears won

They finally figured out how to put Fields in a position to win. Much like the Giants with Daniel Jones, Chicago allowed their young QB to lean on his legs, and the signalman did his part, showing extra effort and elite vision on carries designed to pace a rushing attack. also with hard touches from David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. Between the two, he had just enough down shots, including a late-game critical against Cole Kmet, to keep the Patriots on their toes. The Bears, simply put, are built to win old-school football, and on Monday they allowed arguably their best athlete — the QB — to help them do just that.

Matt Eberflus’ defense also played an important role for much of the night. Jaquan Brisker’s pick of Mac Jones forced New England’s QB switch, and after Zappe’s initial spark, his unit honed to essentially eliminate the Pats’ typically powerful punch of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris, who combined for just 40 yards to go in the final minutes of action. Roquan Smith’s one-on-one play to take out Zappe in the fourth all but sealed the deal, and Kyler Gordon’s own INT just did it.

Why the Patriots lost

Apart from Zappe’s first two drives in relief from Jones, who remained standing, helmeted, on the sidelines as if waiting for a momentary call to re-enter the game, they couldn’t move the ball with a rhythm, nor stop the Le bears three-headed ground game. The QB switch initially looked great, with rookie Zappe throwing him confidently and DeVante Parker making plays for the young caller. But the three-and-outs doomed the unit thereafter, and by the end Zappe’s command of the pocket was all but gone; his errant picks erased any chance of a potential comeback. It didn’t help that the line couldn’t pave the way for a serious drive from Stevenson or Harris throughout the night.

Defensively, the Pats’ lackluster night was perhaps even more surprising. Despite more flash from Matthew Judon (2.5 sacks) on the edge, they had no answer to keep Fields contained once the QB came out of the pocket. And their tackles left a bit to be desired in the red zone, where Montgomery and Herbert fought their way forward.


Trailing 17-14 with just 1:32 left in the first half, the Patriots had a chance to regain the lead driving their own 39. But a botched transfer from Zappe to Meyers put the ball on the ground , and Justin Jones recovered to give Chicago bonus possession. After a quick strike from Fields to Darnell Mooney, the Bears extended their lead before the break on a field goal and never looked back.

Game of the game

Fields and Khalil Herbert deserve props for their hand-eye coordination when TDing through traffic, but Bears rookie safety Jaquan Brisker showed some serious jumping and hands-on his pick of Mac Jones early on:

And after

The Bears (3-4) will hit the road for a Week 8 showdown with the Cowboys (5-2), who edged out the Lions in Dak Prescott’s opener on Sunday. The Patriots (3-4), meanwhile, are now squarely in the cellar of the AFC East, and will face the surging Jets (5-2), who beat the Broncos to their fourth straight win in week 7.

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