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With each passing week, it seems like the New England Patriots are embarking on a new way to reach a different level of rock bottom. The latest plunge occurred in Germany, where Bill Belichick's club was held out of the end zone entirely and managed just two field goals in a loss to the Colts that dropped them to 2-8 on the season. 

The pivotal moment in this game came with 4:24 left in regulation when Mac Jones threw a back-breaking interception on a pass to an open Mike Gesicki in the end zone. The ball was short of the goal line as Jones threw off of his back foot and faded away from the line of scrimmage, and the ball was hauled in by Colts defender Julian Blackmon. That eliminated a chance for the Patriots to take the lead or get within a point of Indianapolis and effectively destroyed any realistic shot of mounting a comeback. 

That throw was the last that Belichick needed to see of Jones as he sent the quarterback to the bench for the final drive of the game, giving that opportunity to Bailey Zappe. The backup didn't fare much better as he threw an interception on his lone drive to ice the game in favor of the Colts, but it does stand to wonder if this trip to the bench for Jones will be more of an extended stay than we've seen previously. 

"Yeah, I just thought it was time for a change," Belichick told reporters postgame when asked why Zappe was in for the final drive over Jones. 

It is worth noting that Jones was spotted going to the X-ray room following the loss. When asked if Jones' benching was injury-related, Belichick answered, "Look, I made a decision. That's what it was. We'll deal with next week, next week." 

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Jones completed 15 of his 20 passes for 170 yards and an interception before going to the bench. 

"It was a terrible throw," Jones said of the pick. "Hit it in practice. Just not a good throw. I knew where to go, just didn't do it right." 

This is now the third time this season he finished the game on the bench. 

"I mean, at the end of the day, I got to play better," Jones said when asked if he felt Belichick still has faith in him as the starter. "To make people believe, you've got to be better, so I'm not sure. I don't know."

The Patriots will be on the bye in Week 11, which allows the coaching staff time to self-scout and evaluate the quarterback position, which certainly leaves Jones' security as the starter for Week 12 when they visit New York in serious question. With Jones under center, the Patriots are averaging well under 20 points per game and showed on Sunday that they continue to struggle within the red zone. While there are plenty of other issues surrounding the offense beyond Jones, the quarterback is currently making more negative plays than positive ones and is setting his team up for losses rather than wins. 

Given where the team stands, it seems certain New England will be in the quarterback market this coming offseason, whether that be via free agency, the draft, or in a trade. For the remainder of this season, however, there's an argument to be made for Belichick to keep Jones on the bench. Zappe did go 2-0 as the team's starter during his brief showing as a rookie last year with Jones sidelined and there was a noticeable jolt to the overall offense with him under center. 

If Belichick were to make the move to Zappe, this would be the juncture to do so to prevent the entire roster from waving the white flag on the year and tuning out the messaging. The Patriots have the bye week to get Zappe fully up to speed, and then have a soft landing for the second-year quarterback as they face a Giants team that is also at the bottom of the league standings and will be starting a backup in Week 12. 

The Mac Jones era likely already had an expiration date at the end of this season, but New England does seem to be positioned to pull the plug even sooner than that on the player they hoped would be their foundation centerpiece.