Do Your Job: Week 7's struggles can bleed into next week if not addressed
DO YOUR JOB
An Account of the 2022 New England Patriots Season
A defense that gave up 33 points to the Chicago Bears is alarming. So was the quarterback approach. What was this? PIC: David Silverman
If you told me this Patriots team would've lost 33-14 to the Chicago Bears, here's what I would've said.
Week 1 (L to Dolphins): Yeah, this team is doomed
Week 2 (W vs. Steelers): Nah, we're gonna be fine.
Week 3 (L to Ravens): Are the Ravens good?!
Week 4 (L to Packers): This is gonna be a tough season.
Week 5 (W vs. Lions): SUPER BOWLLLLLL
Week 6 (W vs. Browns): Not a chance in hell. Long live Zappe!
And yet, here we are. In one of the worst performances I've ever seen the New England Patriots display, they take an L to one of the worst teams in the NFL. Justin Fields looked like Lamar Jackson or Michael Vick, throwing for a passing touchdown and racking up almost 90 yards and a TD on the ground. Was this really his breakout game?! Is this how the Patriots are going to be remembered this year?
Credit where it is due to Fields, Roquan Smith, and others for having elite performances. Credit to Matt Eberflus and the Bears' coaching staff for calling all the right plays and schematically burning the Pats in all senses.
But, make no mistake - this was a game the Pats need to forget immediately before things get ugly.
What on earth happened at Quarterback?
All indicators led to Mac Jones being the guy on Monday night. He was cleared from the injury report earlier in the week, and expressed his willingness to hop right back into action.
Then, we get this.
Some good ole' fashioned ambiguity from Bill Belichick and the crew. "Yes, Mac will start. But, we might see Bailey. But you'll never know."
To cut to the chase, Mac looked horrendous. He was 3-for-6, with only 13 yards gained, and this awful interception. Not sure what he was looking at here.
So, down 10-0 with a quarterback who was clearly frazzled - or bad - or uncomfortable - or all of them...who else to go to (cough cough, I wanted this from the get-go) than riding the hot hand? Bailey Zappe entered to roars of fans chanting his name, and he delivered two stunning drives that both led to the end zone.
To be clear, Zappe's performance the rest of the way out was not necessarily ideal. He went 14-for-22 with a TD and 2 picks, with a less-than-average QB rating of 36.6.
The question becomes what happens next week. I'd address it in a piece - or here - but it's pointless with the amount it's changing of late. I have a feeling we'll get something similar - Mac to start, and a quick pull-of-the-plug for Zappe Hour.
A putrid defense Yikes - a team that was riding the wave and performing so well to letting up a whopping 33 points? I'm nothing short of shocked.
The Bears were scraping the bottom of the barrel in offensive yards per game, coming in under 300. And 390 was the figure on Monday night. Not ideal. Coverages were not in sync, the run defense was non-existent, and Justin Fields operated with more comfort than he probably ever has in his NFL career so far. This simply cannot continue.
Silver lining: Matt Judon is still leading the league in sacks. I'm glad the production is there from him this year, as he's been by-and-large the X-factor on this Pats defense all year.
Up next: 'Da God Damn Jets
Don't sleep on the Jets - they're 5-2, riding a red-hot four-game win streak. Sure, their wins aren't that great, but they knocked off the Packers by a commanding 17 points at Lambeau Field and have measurably improved in many ways since last year. I don't care who you play - if you let up nearly 400 all purpose yards, you deserve to lose. And if the defense remains as porous as it was last week, they're in some serious trouble. I am hoping this was a fluke and not the true identity of this team.