Bill Belichick is going to have to wait at least another week before he can own the second-most wins by an NFL coach in league history.
The Chicago Bears, led by gritty quarterback Justin Fields, beat the New England Patriots on Monday night, 33-14, as both Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe couldn’t figure out how to generate offense.
It was Jones getting the start for the Patriots for the first time in three weeks, as he’s been rehabbing a high ankle sprain. Because Zappe had success in his first career starts in these last two Patriots games, many believed he would continue as the starter. But Belichick decided to go with his original starter this season.
It didn’t last long.
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Jones would come out of the game after just three drives, which resulted in two three-and-outs and an interception that would be the backbreaker to his day. Jaquan Brisker read Jones on the third drive of the night for the Patriots, and made a one-handed interception to get the ball back in the hands of Fields.
Though nothing came of that turnover for the Bears, Fields and the offense were quick to capitalize on the early three-and-outs that the Patriots couldn’t fully come back from.
First, it was a field goal on an eight-play drive for the Bears to start their night in Foxboro. Then, Fields used his legs, as he did all night, to pick up the first touchdown of the game, a three-yard rush to make it 10 nothing in the first quarter.
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But the Patriots began to come back once Zappe took over under center, and the Gillette Stadium crowd went wild. He needed just four plays to find Jakobi Meyers on a 30-yard touchdown to make it 10-7, and then New England got the lead after Fields threw an interception when Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Just when the tides seemed to be turning in the favor of the home team, Fields once again led his team down the field, collecting his only passing touchdown of the game to running back Khalil Herbert, who took a screen 25 yards to the house.
That was the start of 23 unanswered points that would bury the Patriots and any chance of Belichick picking up his 325th career win. And it only seems fitting that George Halas, a Bears legend, is the one he’s looking to pass.
Zappe, remaining at quarterback, couldn’t muster anything positive as he either led drives to punts or turnovers following the Herbert score. Meyers would fumble a transfer on a run play that led to a Bears field goal to end the half, and then Zappe threw back-to-back interceptions in the fourth quarter.
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Three field goals and a touchdown were put on the board by the Bears while the Patriots struggled, as running back David Montgomery crashed his way into end zone for a one-yard score in the fourth quarter to virtually ice the game.
It’s the Bears’ third win of the season and a better primetime performance than the one they put together against the Washington Commanders last Thursday.
As we mentioned, Fields was electric in this one, showing his toughness in the run and pass games. He finished the game with 179 yards through the air with one touchdown and one interception, while leading the team in rushing with 82 yards on 14 carries and a score. Montgomery and Hebert each had 62 yards on the ground as well.
Normally a strength of the Patriots, Stevenson was held to 39 yards on 11 carries. Zappe had his first bad performance since making his NFL debut against the Green Bay Packers three weeks ago. He had 185 yards on 14-for-22 with two interceptions and the touchdown pass.
The Bears remain on the road next week when they head to Dallas to face the Cowboys, while the Patriots will hope to give Belichick that win at MetLife Stadium against the New York Jets, a team he almost coached before heading to New England.