After suffering a humiliating 33-14 loss at home to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that QB Mac Jones will start against the Jets in Week 8. However, after the Week 7 defeat to the Bears, Head Coach Bill Belichick was asked whether Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe would be the starter for the Week 8 matchup away to the New York Jets. Belichick responded, “We just finished the game,” and gave “no commitments” to who he would name as the starter in Week 8, according to Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report. If Mike Reiss’ sources are accurate and Mac Jones will start against the Jets, would that be the correct decision for the Patriots?
QB Tension in New England
To say it was a night to forget for Jones and Zappe against the Bears would be an understatement. The headline going into the Week 7 matchup was Mac Jones will start against Chicago, marking his return from an injury he had sustained in a 37-26 loss to the Ravens in Week 3.
Yet, it was not the comeback that Jones would have been hoping for. He started the game with a three-and-out and clearly looked as if he was trying to shake off the cobwebs of being sidelined for a month. Then, after throwing a poor interception and not making much happen in the air, “Zappe! Zappe!” chants began to engulf Gillette Stadium. As if Jones didn’t have enough pressure already, right?
Rookie QB Bailey Zappe entered the game in the second quarter and came out flying. On his first drive, he went 3-3 on passing attempts and threw for 54 yards, including a beautiful 30-yard touchdown pass to WR Jakobi Meyers.
In the very next offensive series, Zappe delivered an exquisite 40-yard pass to WR DeVante Parker which set up a four-yard touchdown run by Rhamondre Stevenson. Everything pointed toward Bailey Zappe solidifying his claim for the starting QB spot for New England until the Bears began their demolition of the Patriots.
A Really Bad Day At The Office
By the end of the game, Jones and Zappe had horrific stat lines marking the worst-case scenario for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Mac Jones only played the first quarter after being benched for Bailey Zappe for the rest of the game, and his numbers suggest that was a smart decision. Jones went 3-6 on his passing attempts and only threw for 13 yards and an interception while posting a dreadful 30.1 QBR.
However, Bailey Zappe’s performance was nothing to brag about, either. After coming in for Jones in the second quarter with a bang, it all went downhill for the rookie quarterback. Zappe finished the matchup by completing 14-22 of his passing attempts for 185 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.
The fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky posted a career-low QB rating of 67.4, and it was the first game thus far in his young NFL career where he looked flustered and lacked confidence.
Reportedly Mac Jones Will Start Next Week, But Should He?
Comparing Jones’and Zappe’s seasons thus far, it is clear that the rookie Bailey Zappe has performed exceptionally better than his fellow teammate. Zappe has a completion percentage of 70.7%, completing 65 of his 92 passes, has thrown for 781 yards, five touchdowns, three interceptions, and has a QB rating of 100.9.
On the other hand, Mac Jones has completed 67 of his 103 passes (65% completion percentage), thrown for 799 yards, two touchdowns, six interceptions, and has a measly 70.8 QB rating. All of the statistics point towards Zappe being more deserving of the starting quarterback position in New England, but it is important to give Jones at least a chance to redeem his wrongdoings.
Considering the loss to the Bears came on a rainy and foggy night in Foxborough, it was debated whether Jones should have played at all to avoid potentially aggravating his ankle injury. Next week away to the New York Jets (5-2) will be a massive test if Mac Jones will start, and Patriots fans will hope to see their team recover after an embarrassing loss to the Bears.