Patriots vs. Bears score: Justin Fields spoils Bailey Zappe’s return to lineup as Chicago upsets ‘MNF’

Patriots vs. Bears score: Justin Fields spoils Bailey Zappe’s return to lineup as Chicago upsets ‘MNF’

The Patriots entered “Monday Night Football” as 8.5-point favorites over the Bears, looking to win their third straight in the return of Mac Jones to the lineup after a three-game absence. They left with rookie Bailey Zappe back under center, and Bill Belichick’s defense turned around by the best performance of young Bears’ Justin Fields’ career. Despite Zappe’s entrance briefly firing up the crowd at Gillette Stadium, along with New England’s passing attack, Fields stole the show at quarterback, leading a multiple-yard game as Chicago rolled to a 33-14 loss in prime time.

Jones, returning from a high ankle sprain, didn’t even make it a quarter and a half before Belichick benched him after an ugly second-quarter tackle. But Zappe’s energy did just enough for the Pats to start their night after back-to-back scoring. New England didn’t record its 10th first down of the contest until deep into the fourth quarter, and three turnovers — a failed Jakobi Meyers pass and interceptions by Roquan Smith and Kyler Gordon — allowed the Bears to literally run away with the win.

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

Why the Bears won

They finally figured out how to put Fields in a position to win. Much like the Giants did with Daniel Jones, Chicago allowed their young QB to rely on his legs, and the signal caller did his part, showing extra effort and elite vision on designed noses to pace an offense that also features heavy touches from David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. In between, he hit enough field goals, including a critical late one to tight end Cole Kmet, to keep the Patriots on their toes. The Bears, to put it simply, are built to win old-school football, and on Monday they allowed their best athlete — the QB — to help them do it.

Matt Eberflus’ defense was also strong for most of the night. Jaquan Brisker’s pick of Mac Jones forced a New England QB turnover, and after Zappe’s initial spark, his unit grinded out to basically eliminate the Pats’ typically strong one-two punch of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris, who combined for just 40 yards . in the waning minutes of action. A heads-up play by Roquan Smith to beat Zappe in the fourth sealed the deal, and Kyler Gordon’s INT just rubbed it in.

Why the Patriots lost

Outside of Zappe’s first two hits to Jones, who stood with his helmet on the sideline as if awaiting an instant call to re-enter the game, they couldn’t move the ball with any rhythm, nor could they stop the Bears’ three-header game. The QB switch looked brilliant early on, with rookie Zappe confidently dropping him downfield and DeVante Parker playing for the young signal caller. But a three-and-out later doomed the unit, and by the end Zappe’s command from the pocket was all but gone; his wrong choices wiped out any chance of a potential comeback. It didn’t help that the line couldn’t pave the way for any serious momentum from either Stevenson or Harris all night.

Defensively, the Pats’ uninspiring night was perhaps even more surprising. Despite more flashes from Matthew Judon (2.5 sacks) off the edge, they had no answer to contain Fields when the QB broke outside the pocket. And their offense left something to be desired in the red zone, where Montgomery and Herbert moved forward.

A turning point

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

Playing the game

Fields and Khalil Herbert deserve props for their hand-eye coordination on a TD pass through traffic, but Bears rookie Jaquan Brisker showed serious leaps and hands on his pick of Mac Jones early:

What’s next

The Bears (3-4) will hit the road in Week 8 against the Cowboys (5-2), who beat the Lions in Dak Prescott’s first game on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Patriots (3-4) are now in the basement of the AFC East, and will face the surging Jets (5-2), who beat the Broncos for their fourth straight win in Week 7.

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