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

The Patriots entered Monday Night Football as 8.5-point favorites over the Bears as they look to win their third straight as Mac Jones returns to the lineup after a three-game absence. They left with rookie Bailey Zappa returning under center and a Bill Belichick defense that was overturned by the best performance of Justin Fields’ young Bears career. Despite Zappe getting the Gillette Stadium crowd going briefly and New England’s passing offense, Fields stole the show at quarterback, headlining a multi-faceted game as Chicago went 33-14 in prime time.

Jones, returning from a high ankle sprain, didn’t even make it through a quarter and a half before Belichick benched him after an ugly second-quarter interception. But Zappe’s energy only helped the Pats down the stretch as he scored points to start his night. New England’s 10th first down of the contest didn’t come until the fourth quarter, and three touchdown passes — a Jakobi Meyers fumble and interceptions to Roquan Smith and Kyler Gordon — set the Bears up. literally run away with the win.

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

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Why the Bears won

They finally figured out how to make Fields win. Much like the Giants did with Daniel Jones, Chicago let their new QB rest on his feet, and the signal caller did his part, showing extra effort and elite vision on designed carries to pace a rushing attack that also featured heavy tackles David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. In between, he hit just enough shots from the field, including a critical late one against Cole Kmet, to keep the Patriots on their toes. Simply put, the Bears are built to win in old-school football, and on Monday they let their best athlete — the QB — help them do it.

Matt Eberflus’ defense was also big for much of the night. Jaquan Brisker’s pick Mac Jones forced a turnover at New England’s QB, and after Zappe’s initial blitz, his unit grinded away to essentially eliminate the Pats’ usually potent rush of Ramond Stevenson and Damien Harris, who combined for just 40 yards. for decreasing minutes of operation. Roquan Smith’s heads-up play to score Zapp in the fourth sealed the deal, and Kyler Gordon’s INT just clinched it.

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Why the Patriots lost

Outside of Zappe’s first two snaps to relieve Jones, who continued to stand, helmet on, on the sideline as if awaiting a brief call back into the game, they couldn’t move the ball with any rhythm or stop the Bears’ three-headed ground game. The QB switch looked brilliant early on, with Zappe taking it up the field with confidence for a rookie, and Devante Parker playing for the new signal caller. But after that, the unit was ruled three-and-out, and by the end, Zappe’s order from the pocket was gone; his misguided choices erased any possible return. It didn’t help that the line couldn’t pave the way for serious momentum from Stevenson or Harris all night long.

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

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Turning point

Trailing 17-14 with just 1:32 left in the first half, the Patriots had a chance to regain the lead by driving from their own 39. But a botched handoff by Zappa to Myers put the ball on the ground and Justin Jones recovered to give Chicago the extra property. After a quick Fields hit to Darnell Mooney, the Bears extended their lead before the intermission and never looked back.

Game play

Fields and Khalil Herbert deserve props for their hand-eye coordination on screen passes for TDs through traffic, but Jaquan Brisker, the Bears’ rookie quarterback, showed some serious leaps and arm early in picking off Mac Jones:

What’s next

The Bears (3-4) will take on the Cowboys (5-2) in Week 8, 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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