New England Patriots and the Zappe case of Jekyll and Hyde
Take the first half of Bailey Zappe’s performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots look like they may have something at quarterback. The second half of those games, well, have served as a reminder of why the team must draft a quarterback talent like Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.
In completing 17 of 19 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 27-17 loss against the Chiefs in Week 15, Zappe proved the Patriots’ offense can be functional and competitive, but in the second half he was just 6 of 12 with 39 yards passing highlighted by a poorly thrown interception that looked like the kind of mistakes that sent Mac Jones to the bench.
So, what’s up with Zappe in the second half? It most likely has something to do with the opposing defenses adjusting, but it also has a lot to do with the Patriots reverting to conservative play calling that puts them in the mindset of playing not to lose instead of playing to win.
“You go back and look at the film, like we did [Monday],” Zappe explained during an appearance on WEEI’s Jones and Mego. “And it’s always those certain things that happen. You know, a mistake here or there, like the interception. Instead of throwing it out of bounds, I try to force it. Had I thrown it out of bounds, who knows how that drive goes. They get seven points off of that, we lost by 10. You know how the game goes, who knows? So, it's just little things like that, and that’s stuff that’s– it’s easily fixed because it’s just a mental error. For me, it’s just as easy as throwing the ball out of bounds and going onto 2nd and 10. So it’s just fixing those things and then moving on.”
Those drive killing mistakes and game-changing moments has been the epitome of the Patriots’ offense all season long and it appears it doesn’t matter who is out there under center. With three games remaining, the challenge for Bailey Zappe and the offense is to see if they can put together a complete game offensively. That will be a tough task going up against the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills the next two weeks.
Are the Bills for real, can the Dolphins secure a top spot in the AFC? Can the Jets and Patriots quarterback situations get any worse as the 2023 NFL season comes to an end?
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