We have another quarterback controversy in New England, folks.
Patriots starting quarterback Mac Jones was benched for the third time in 10 games Sunday during the team's 10-6 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Frankfurt, Germany. Unlike in Jones' previous two benchings, which came late in blowout defeats to the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, head coach Bill Belichick inserted backup quarterback Bailey Zappe in a crucial situation: with the Patriots down four and needing an 86-yard touchdown drive in just one minute and 52 seconds.
That wasn't the end result, as Zappe threw an interception into quadruple coverage on a baffling fake-spike play to seal New England's 10-6 defeat.
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Despite Zappe's head-scratching decision, the Patriots might seriously consider naming him their starter after watching Jones' performance on Sunday. The third-year QB threw a back-breaker of an interception in the red zone on a fourth-quarter play that could have given New England the lead and made several other poor decisions throughout the game.
When asked after the game if he believes in his ability to be the Patriots' starting quarterback, Zappe gave a simple answer:
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While Zappe admitted it was difficult to come off the bench into such a critical situation, he was excited about the opportunity -- and hopes he gets another one going forward.
“Yeah, but that’s the stuff you look forward to, a two-minute drive," Zappe told reporters. "I can’t make excuses. I’ve got to go out there and execute. I have to take advantage of the reps I get in the two-minute and try to get better.
" ... I didn’t take advantage of that today. Next time I will."
The Patriots are in an unenviable position at QB. As bad as Jones has been this season -- his 10 interceptions lead the NFL -- Zappe is far from a serviceable backup. New England actually released Zappe prior to Week 1 before claiming him on waivers, and he's completed just 10 of 25 passes with zero touchdowns and an interception in game action this season.
Zappe also gave an interesting answer when asked what he saw on his interception.
"I can't say what I want to say," Zappe said. "We were kind of behind on time, the way we've talked about -- we talk about one yard per second, so we were trying to get ahead of the time by taking a shot. We figured the play that we had, a fake spike, we were trying to catch the defense off-guard and not get the rush going. That worked, but it was me just kind of forcing it, trying to make a play to get us ahead of time.
"Looking back at it, I'd probably just say, 'Hey, just throw it incomplete, try to see if we can take another shot. But I'm sure we'll look at it tomorrow."
When asked what he meant by, "I can't say what I want to say," Zappe told ESPN's Mike Reiss he can't talk about penalties or referees, so it appears he was upset about a missed call. It's unclear what exactly had Zappe upset, but what's clear is that the 2-8 Patriots have a serious QB problem with perhaps a difficult decision to make during their bye week.