The Patriots benched Mike Jones for Bailey Zappe in the second quarter and immediately found offensive life.Bear


Mike Jones returned Monday night for the Patriots, his first start since he was sidelined in Week 3 with a high ankle sprain. It didn’t last long. Struggling to get out of the gate against the Bears, the former first-round pick was booed in unison by the Gillette Stadium crowd after a second-quarter interception. On New England’s next possession, Jones was quickly replaced by rookie backup Bailey Zappe, who immediately scored a touchdown to ignite the offense.

Zappe, 23, became a fan favorite and a league-wide sensation in his first year with the Patriots. Taking over at center in Week 4 after veteran backup Brian Hoyer suffered a concussion while replacing Jones, the Western Kentucky fourth-rounder showed balance and efficiency in back-to-back victories as an interim starter. Jones, meanwhile, looked hesitant on his first dunk since an ankle injury, finishing Monday’s game 3-for-6 with 13 yards and a pick.

Jones officially withdrew from the game with just over 11 minutes left in the first half. After debuting in 2021 as the team’s first full-time player, he has now completed just two touchdowns and six interceptions this year. Zappe, on the other hand, was sharp off the bench, helping New England get within 3 of the Bears thanks to his first drive.

Jones reportedly did most of the practice ahead of Monday’s game, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick had previously left the door open for Zappe to remain the team’s starting QB even after Jones returned to health .

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