Bailey Chappe vs. Patriots bench Mack Jones. pears; Rookie QB struggles after hot start in ‘MNF’ loss

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Mack Jones returned to the field Monday night Patriots, making his first start since being sidelined in Week 3 with a high ankle sprain. It didn’t last long. Fighting out of the gate against Bears, the former first-round draft pick got a chorus of boos from the Gillette Stadium crowd after throwing an interception in the second quarter. On New England’s next drive, Jones was immediately benched in favor of rookie backup Bailey Sapp, who immediately sparked the offense with a touchdown drive.

Zappe, 23, became a fan favorite and league-wide sensation in his first year with the Patriots. Taking over under center in Week 4 after Brian Hoyer suffered a concussion to replace Jones, the fourth-round Western Kentucky product showed poise and skill in wins again as a midseason starter. Jones, meanwhile, was hesitant in the pocket during his first snaps due to an ankle injury.

Jones was officially ejected from the game with just over 11 minutes left in the first half. After making his full-time debut for the team in 2021, he has now thrown just two touchdowns compared to six interceptions that year. Zappe, on the other hand, was sharp off the bench in his first two series against Chicago — including two touchdown drives. But he ran into serious trouble in Monday’s 33-14 loss, throwing a pair of interceptions in the second half against New England.

Jones had taken the majority of practice reps before Monday’s game, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick previously left the door open for Zappe to be the team’s starting QB, even after Jones returns to full health. After Monday’s game, Zappe told reporters he only knew about Jones starting the Week 7 game against Chicago “at the same time,” suggesting Belichick had hidden his strategy from his own signal-callers. It’s unclear which QB will start in Week 8 and beyond.

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