After the Patriots loss, it’s easy to see the magic show was all smoke and mirrors

Despite the absurd insistence that the Pats planned to play two quarterbacks regardless of their performance (lie detectors exploding from Portland to Newport), our local quarterback controversy was in full (not Chaim) bloom when Jones failed. and Zappe was successful in the first half. At that point, Zappe officially supplanted last year’s Pro Bowl/playoff rookie Jones, who came to New England as a first-round QB savior. It looked like the Pats would go 4-3 and take Zappe Magic to the Meadowlands against the hated Jets this weekend.

But the center did not hold (it was left tackle Trent Brown). The heavily favored Pats couldn’t contain much-maligned Chicago quarterback Justin Fields and dug a hole too deep for Zappe Magic.

In the end, the Patriots were 33-14 losers, Bill Belichick was still tied with Papa Bear Halas (324 wins) for second on the all-time winning list, and poor Mac was spitting out pieces of his luck. broken wondering what he is doing to offend the football gods.

“I knew what the plan was,” Jones said. “Coach Belichick did a really good job explaining it to me.”

“This game didn’t go our way,” added zombie Zappe. “I have to get better. I can’t fall like I did.”

“Bad performance tonight,” said Belichick. “We were overwhelmed, overwhelmed. . . Obviously, we didn’t coach well. Choose what you want.”

Today, the Pats are just another 3-4 football team with two quarterbacks and little chance of a serious playoff run. Chicago was supposed to be a layup. It was supposed to be the soft part of the program.

We had a controversy all week over who the starting quarterback for New England would be and in the end, Belichick made the wrong decision. He went with his franchise guy who had been out for four weeks with a sprained ankle. He went with Jones and Jones delivered bupkis. Jones was gone after three series – two three-and-outs and one interception. And then they tried to tell us that switching QBs was the plan all along. Mercy.

Zappe Fever had taken over our region after the 23-year-old rookie led the Pats to victories over the moribund Lions and Browns in Weeks 5 and 6. Before Monday, the ‘Jones or Zappe’ question was a Churchillian enigma wrapped in a mystery within an enigma. The topic dominated the airwaves and all local football conversations and Belichick did nothing to diminish the drama. Diabolical Hoodie seemed to enjoy keeping everyone (especially the Bears) in the dark – and some of us suspect Belichick enjoyed making his second-year, first-round QB franchise think twice about his safety. use.

Given Pats’ paranoid reluctance to reveal anything (Q: “Bill, is today Tuesday?” A: “Well, traditionally it’s the day after Monday”), speculation goes wild whenever there’s a QB job up for grabs and most of us remember 2001 when Tom in the sixth round replaced the injured Drew and never handed down the torch.

When Bailey Zappe threw a touchdown, Mac Jones was one of the first to congratulate him.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Fueling the irrational fires of delicious controversy, we got a leak of the humble Mac turning into an authorized diva. No one on the team registered that accusation, but Zappe Fever had plenty of Pats fans who bought the smear and wanted to see more of Zappe.

Dating back to last season, Jones was 2-6 in his last eight starts. He threw five picks and lost a fumble in his first three games of 2022. Why make a switch with Zappe 2-0 as his starter, we wondered? Why risk Jones re-injuring his ankle on a soggy pitch? Why not wait until next weekend when the Pats have a tough road game against the hated Jets? What would we all say if Belichick went back to Jones and then lost the game, along with all of Zappe’s momentum?

Former Patriots coach Bill Parcells said it well: “You lose your job for two reasons: 1. You’re not playing well, or 2. Someone else is playing better. If you’re out of the game and someone else comes in and obviously plays better, then you lose your job. ”

Jones went three times on New England’s first two possessions and the fans chanted “Zappe!, Zappe!” when the Bears lined up for an extra point to take a 10-0 lead with 2:11 left in the first.

Asked about the public support for Zappe, Jones said, “I just have to do better at my job.”

Mac Jones’ best plays have come with his legs, not his arm. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

The Patriots trailed 20-14 at intermission and Belichick told the MNF team he would face both of their quarterbacks in the second half. This absurd idea was floated and promoted by the Pats media cartel – that there was some kind of to plan to play both QBs.

If you buy this, you probably think the Red Sox are going to spend the money going forward. The only reason Zappe played Monday was because Jones wasn’t taking the offense anywhere. When Zappe was asked after the game if he got any reps with the first-team offense last week, he deflected the question.

“We had a plan,” Belichick said. “I told the quarterbacks we were going to face them both.”

When asked if not putting Jones back in the game was performance-related, Belichick replied, “It wasn’t what it was. You can write whatever you want to write.”

Zappe had a three-and-out to start the third. Meanwhile, the Bears continued to chip away at New England’s run defense and led 26-14 when Zappe tipped a third and second pass to the line of scrimmage late in the third.

Down 33-14, Zappe had one last fight midway through the fourth, but one of his passes was knocked down the line and intercepted by Bears linebacker Roquan Smith.

yuck. Doug Flutie syndrome. The little guy (Zappe is 6 feet at par) receives passes at the line of scrimmage.

With less than three minutes left in the Bears corner, Kyler Gordon jumped the road and almost had a Pick-6.

No joy in mudville. The Zappe Days are no longer there.

Dan Shaughnessy is a columnist for The Globe. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.

Brian L. Hartfield