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 to win their third straight in Mack Jones’ return to the lineup after a three-game absence. They left with rookie Bailey Zappé back under center, and a Bill Belichick defense that rolled over in the best performance of Justin Fields’ young Bears career. Despite Zappé’s entry briefly ignited the Gillette Stadium crowd along with New England’s passing attack, Fields stole the show at quarterback, headlining a multifaceted ground game as Chicago cruised to a 33-14 upset in prime time.

Jones, who returned from a high ankle sprain, didn’t even make it a quarter and a half before Belichick blessed him after the nasty second-quarter interception. But Zappé’s energy only did so much for the Pats after back-to-back scoring drives to start his night. New England didn’t log its 10th first down of the contest until deep in 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 win.

Here are some takeaways from the Big Bears 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 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 pace a rushing attack also with solid touches from David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. In between, he hit just enough downfield shots, including a crucial late one to tight end Cole Kmet, to keep the Patriots on their toes. The Bears, put simply, 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 was also great for much of the night. Jaquan Brisker’s pick on Mac Jones forced New England’s QB change, and after Zapp’s initial spark, his unit honed in to basically eliminate the Pats’ typically potent one-two punch of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris, who combined for just 40 yards. In the waning minutes of action. Roquan Smith’s heads-up play to pick off Zappa in the fourth nearly sealed the deal, and Kyler Gordon’s own INT just clinched it.

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Why the Patriots lost

Outside of Zappé’s first two drives in relief of Jones, who was standing, helmeted, on the sidelines as if awaiting a momentary call to re-enter the matchup, they couldn’t move the ball with any rhythm, and they could Do not stop the ball. Bears’ three-headed ground game. The QB switch initially looked genius, with rookie Zappé slinging it down with confidence and DeVante Parker making plays for the young signal-caller. But three-and-out imitated the unit, and in the end Zapp’s command of the pocket all disappeared; His errant picks erase 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 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 keep Fields contained once the QB broke outside the pocket. And their tackling left a bit 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 at their own 39. Recovered to give Chicago a bonus possession. After a quick Fields hit to Darnell Mooney, the Bears extended their lead before the break on a field goal, and never looked back.

Game of the game

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

What’s next

The Bears (3-4) will hit the road for a Week 8 showdown with the Cowboys (5-2), who edged the Lions in Dak Prescott’s first game on Sunday. The Patriots (3-4), meanwhile, are currently in the basement of the AFC East, and will face the serving Jets (5-2), who beat the Broncos for their fourth straight win in Week 7.


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