New England Patriots

Belichick details decision to start Bailey Zappe over Mac Jones

"He's worked hard all year and I thought he deserved a chance to play."

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Coming at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers, the New England Patriots once again ended their Sunday with a 6-0 loss. Although the offense still failed to score any points, they showed some signs of promise with Bailey Zappe starting under center.

While this may have been Zappe's first start of the season, it's certainly not his first time on the field. Mac Jones' poor run of performance has led to multiple benchings, giving Zappe plenty of opportunities to showcase his abilities. While nothing improved for the Patriot offense with his chances on the field, Bill Belichick still decided to move forward with Zappe, naming him as the starter for their matchup against the Chargers.

"I thought he [Zappe] deserved it," Belichick said of naming Zappe the starter over Jones.

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Zappe had played in four games prior to his start against the Chargers, throwing for 158 yards on a 48.7 percent completion rate, failing to find the end zone while throwing two interceptions.

Jones as a starter led the Patriots to a 2-9 record, tallying 2,120 yards on a 64.9 percent completion rate. He threw just 10 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions. Fans, and seemingly now Belichick, had just seen enough.

"He's worked hard all year and I thought he deserved a chance to play," Belichick added of Zappe in an attempt to dodge a question on why the change hadn't come sooner. "I made that decision last week."

Last week, Jones was abysmal in the Patriots' 10-7 loss to the New York Giants, converting on 12-of-21 attempts for just 89 yards. After throwing his second interception, and recording a fumble earlier on, Jones once again found himself benched in favor of Zappe.

"We gave Mac the opportunity to work through his progression with the offense," Belichick said. "Obviously, [Jones] hadn't had a lot of production. I thought Bailey [Zappe] deserved a chance to play."

Zappe converted on 13 of his 25 pass attempts for 141 yards in his first start of the season. Notably, the second-year quarterback didn't commit any turnovers, refraining from fumbling or throwing any interceptions.

While the Patriots failed to score with their new starting quarterback, the team seemed to look rejuvenated -- players were celebrating offensive conversions and defensive stops, cheering each other on until the clock ticked down to zero at the end of the game.

With a short week ahead, the Patriots will look to regroup before taking on the 7-5 Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

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