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, looking for their third straight in Mac Jones’ return to the lineup after a three-game absence. They left with rookie Bailey Zappe back under center, and a Bill Belichick defense that rolled over in the best performance of Justin Fields’ young Bears career. Despite Zappe’s entry briefly igniting the Gillette Stadium crowd along with New England’s passing attack, Fields stole the show at quarterback, setting up a versatile ground game as Chicago led 33- 14 overturned.

Jones, returning from a high-ankle sprain, didn’t even make it a quarter and a half before Belichick benched him after an ugly interception in the second quarter. But Zappe’s energy only did so much for the Pats after he scored back-to-back to start his night. New England didn’t record its 10th first down of the game until deep into the fourth quarter, and three turnovers — a fumbled handoff to Jakobi Meyers, and back-breaking interceptions to Roquan Smith and Kyler Gordon — allowed the Bears. to literally run away with the victory.

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

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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 its young QB to lean on his legs, and the signal-caller did his part, showing extra effort and elite vision on designed carries to keep a rushing attack going, too with tough touches from David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. In between, he hit just enough pitches, including a critical late one to tight end 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 it.

Matt Eberflus’ defense also came up big for much of the night. Jaquan Brisker’s pick of Mac Jones forced New England’s QB change, and after the initial spark from Zappe, his unit stepped up to basically the Pats’ typically potent one-two punch of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris, who combined for just 40 yards to eliminate. in the waning minutes of action. Roquan Smith’s heads-up play to pick off Zappe in the fourth all but sealed the deal, and Kyler Gordon’s own INT just rubbed it in.

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Why the Patriots lost

Outside of Zappe’s first two drives in relief of Jones, who remained helmeted, on the sideline as if waiting for an instant call to reenter the game, they failed to move the ball with any rhythm, and neither could the Bears’ three-headed ground game. The QB switch looked genius at first, with rookie Zappe slinging it downfield with confidence and DeVante Parker making plays for the young signal caller. But three-and-out doomed the unit after that, and by the end, Zappe’s command from the pocket almost disappeared; his errant choices obliterated any chance of a potential return. It didn’t help that the line failed to pave the way for any serious momentum from either Stevenson or Harris throughout the night.

Defensively, the Pats’ uninspiring night was perhaps even more surprising. Despite more blitz from Matthew Judon (2.5 sacks) off the edge, they had no answers to contain Fields once the QB broke outside the pocket. And their tackling left a little to be desired in the red zone, where Montgomery and Herbert powered their way 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 from their own 39. But a fumbled handoff from Zappe to Meyers put the ball on the ground, and Justin Jones recovered to give Chicago a bonus possession. After a quick Fields strike on Darnell Mooney, the Bears extended their lead before halftime on a field goal, and never looked back.

Play the game

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

What’s next

The Bears (3-4) will hit the road for a Week 8 showdown with the Cowboys (5-2), who beat the Lions in Dak Prescott’s first game on Sunday. The Patriots (3-4), meanwhile, are now squarely 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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