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 win in the return of Mac Jones to the lineup after a three-game absence. They left with rookie Bailey Zappé returning under center, and Bill Belichick’s defense rolling over the career-best performance of young Bears running back Justin Fields. Despite Zappe’s entry briefly igniting the Gillette Stadium crowd along with New England’s passing attack, Fields stole the show at quarterback, leading multiple ground plays as Chicago cruised to a 33-14 victory in prime time.

Jones, returning from a sprained ankle, didn’t even last a quarter and a half before Belichick benched him after an ugly second-quarter interception. But Zappe’s energy didn’t do much for the Pats after back-to-back hits to start his night. New England didn’t record its 10th first down of the contest until deep in the fourth quarter, and three turnovers — an errant handoff to Jakobi Meyers and tough interceptions by Roquan Smith and Kyler Gordon — allowed the Bears to literally run away with the win.

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

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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 their young QB to rely on his legs, and the signal caller did his part, showing extra effort and elite vision on designed carries for a rushing attack that also included sharp touches from David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. In between, he hit just enough touchdowns, 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 let arguably their best athlete — the QB — help them do it.

Matt Eberflus’ defense also came up big for most of the night. Jaquan Brisker’s pick of Mac Jones forced New England into a QB change, and after the initial spark from Zappe, his unit improved 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 the action. Roquan Smith’s heads-up play to throw out Zappe in the fourth all but sealed the deal, and Kyler Gordon’s own INT just clinched it.

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Why the Patriots lost

Outside of Zappe’s first two at-bats in relief of Jones, who continued to stand, helmet on, on the sidelines 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 three-headed Bears Game on the country. The QB switch looked brilliant early on, with rookie Zappe confidently throwing it down the field and DeVante Parker playing in place of the young signal-caller. But three-and-outs 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 Stevenson or Harris on the night.

Defensively, the Pats’ uninspiring night was perhaps even more surprising. Despite more flashes from Matthew Judon (2.5 sacks) off the edge, they didn’t have an answer to contain Fields after the QB broke outside the pocket. And their competition was to be desired in the red zone, where Montgomery and Herbert went forward.

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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 to Zapp Meyers dropped the ball and Justin Jones recovered to give Chicago the extra possession. After a quick Fields punt to Darnell Mooney, the Bears extended their lead before the break with a field goal and never looked back.

Playing the game

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

What’s next

The Bears (3-4) will begin a Week 8 matchup with the Cowboys (5-2), who swept 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 take on the surging Jets (5-2), who beat the Broncos for their fourth straight win in Week 7.


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