So, the Bears will improve to 3-4. They take a trip to Dallas to play the Cowboys next week. The Patriots drop to 3-4, and they head to East Rutherford, NJ to take on the resurgent (but also kinda falling apart due to injuries) Jets.
Patriots vs. Bears score: Justin Fields spoils Bailey Zappe's return to lineup as Chicago rolls to 'MNF' upset
The Bears snap New England's win streak in Foxborough
The Patriots entered "Monday Night Football" as 8.5-point favorites over the Bears, looking to win their third straight in Mac Jones' return to the lineup following a three-game absence. They left with rookie Bailey Zappe back under center, and a Bill Belichick defense that got rolled over in the best performance of Justin Fields' young Bears career. Despite Zappe's entry briefly igniting the Gillette Stadium crowd along with New England's passing attack, Fields stole the show at quarterback, headlining a multifaceted ground game as Chicago cruised to a 33-14 upset in prime time.
Jones, who was returning from a high-ankle sprain, made it not even a quarter and a half before Belichick benched him following an ugly second-quarter interception. But Zappe's energy did only so much for the Pats after back-to-back scoring drives to start his night. New England didn't log its 10th first down of the contest until deep into the fourth quarter, and three turnovers -- a fumbled hand-off to Jakobi Meyers, and back-breaking interceptions to Roquan Smith and Kyler Gordon -- allowed the Bears to literally run away with the win.
Here are some takeaways from Monday night's big Bears upset:
Why the Bears won
They finally figured out how to put Fields in a position to win. Much like the Giants with Daniel Jones, Chicago allowed its young QB to lean on his legs, and the signal-caller did his part, showcasing extra effort and elite vision on designed carries to pace a rushing attack also featuring tough touches from David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. In between, he hit just enough downfield shots, including a critical late one to tight end Cole Kmet, to keep the Patriots on their toes. The Bears, put it simply, are built to win old-school football, and on Monday, they permitted arguably their best athlete -- the QB -- to help them do just that.
Matt Eberflus' defense also came up big for much of the night. Jaquan Brisker's pick of Mac Jones forced New England's QB change, and after the initial spark of Zappe, his unit honed in to basically eliminate the Pats' typically forceful one-two punch of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris, who combined for just 40 yards going into the waning minutes of action. Roquan Smith's heads-up play to pick off Zappe in the fourth all but sealed the deal, and Kyler Gordon's own INT just rubbed it in.
Why the Patriots lost
Outside of Zappe's first two drives in relief of Jones, who kept standing, helmeted, on the sidelines as if he were awaiting a momentary call to re-enter the matchup, they could not move the ball with any rhythm, nor could they stop the Bears' three-headed ground game. The QB switch initially looked genius, with the rookie Zappe slinging it downfield with confidence and DeVante Parker making plays for the young signal-caller. But three-and-outs doomed the unit afterward, and by the end, Zappe's command from the pocket had all but vanished; his errant picks erased any chance of a potential comeback. It didn't help that the line couldn't pave the way for any serious momentum from either Stevenson or Harris throughout the night.
Defensively, the Pats' uninspiring night was perhaps even more surprising. Despite more flash from Matthew Judon (2.5 sacks) off the edge, they had no answers for keeping Fields contained once the QB broke outside the pocket. And their tackling left a bit to be desired in the red zone, where Montgomery and Herbert powered their way forward.
Trailing 17-14 with just 1:32 left in the first half, the Patriots had a chance to reclaim the lead driving from their own 39. But a botched hand-off from Zappe to Meyers put the ball on the ground, and Justin Jones recovered to give Chicago a bonus possession. After a quick Fields strike to Darnell Mooney, the Bears extended their lead before the break on a field goal, and never looked back.
Play of the game
Fields and Khalil Herbert deserve props for their hand-eye coordination on a screen-pass TD through traffic, but Jaquan Brisker, the Bears' rookie safety, showed serious hops and hands on his pick of Mac Jones early on:
The Bears (3-4) will hit the road for a Week 8 showdown with the Cowboys (5-2), who edged the Lions in Dak Prescott's first game back on Sunday. The Patriots (3-4), meanwhile, are now squarely at the cellar of the AFC East, and will be up against the surging Jets (5-2), who beat the Broncos for their fourth straight victory in Week 7.
Well, Zappe almost got picked on the first play of the drive, and then he did get picked right there. Second interception by a Bears rookie in the secondary tonight. Kyler Gordon here, Jaquan Brisker earlier. Gordon got burnt by the Packers on Sunday Night Football earlier in the season, so it's nice for him to have a big play on national TV tonight.
Zappe had a shot to hit Parker down the sideline there, but the throw dragged Parker just a bit out of bounds. Fourth-and-2 coming up and this will do it if the Pats can't convert.
Zappe was damn near picked again. Another pass deflected at the line of scrimmage. He's having a big issue with that.
Bears look content to just try to run out the clock on this one. Pats would need to score three times and they've not been moving the ball too well this game, so it makes sense.
Zappe tipped at the line and then picked by Roquan Smith. This defensive front has been dominant. And now Patriots center David Andrews is down on the ground. He got lit up by a blind side block.
New England not really being able to run the ball against this Chicago run defense is a surprise. The Pats have been quite good along the offensive line all year, and the Bears have been weak against the run. Just nothing going there tonight. Great job by the Bears defensive line and linebackers making sure there have been no gaps.
Both Marcus Jones and Jonnu Smith seemed to get a big banged up on that last kick return. They ran into each other after Jones got clotheslined on the tackle.
The Bears have run 37 times for 214 yards -- 5.8 per carry. Two touchdowns on the ground as well.
Monty into the end zone and it's a three-score lead for the Patriots. What an offensive performance this has been.
And now Montgomery is just busting through tackles. Great run to pick ip the first and even better efffort to get inside the 10-yard line.
Not sure why Herbert wasn't involved earlier in the game but he's looked pretty good trying to get to the edge of this Pats defense.
Fields was pretty late getting over to St. Brown coming across the field but he was still wide open by the time he got there. Another third-down conversion for the Bears. They keep moving the chains.
Back-to-back three-and-outs for the Zappe-led Patriots to begin this second half. Is that enough of a window for Jones? Personally, I don't think so, but who knows what Belichick is thinking?
Zappe looked like he was winding up to throw deep but then saw something he didn't like and tried to throw the checkdown. Trevis Gipson knocked it down right out of his hand, though.
Trent Brown just wracked up his fourth penalty tonight. A forgettable evening for the Patriots left tackle.
Another drive for Bailey Zappe. Be curious to see when/if Belichick goes back to Jones, as the broadcast noted before the start of the second half.
Big night/season for Cairo Santos. Connected from 42, 23, 38, and 50 yards now.
Santos has been money for Chicago tonight. He's nailed all four of his field goals, including a 50-yarder to push the lead to 26-14..
The Pats like to use a lot of three-safety sets. Kyle Dugger is already dealing with an injury, and now Adrian Phillips is, too.
Fields needed to put a bit more air under that one to give Mooney a shot to run underneath it.
Kmet seemed to think he didn't get down in bounds, but he did. Bears didn't need to hustle to the line but got a decent gain anyway. Now third-and-short coming up.
WHAT A PLAY!!!! That spin move away from pressure and then the perfect back-shoulder throw to Kmet... who may not have actually caught it.
These times when Fields holds the ball for a full second too long are going to make my head fly off its axis by the end of the night. He can make so much happen if he lets it go or takes off!
New England walked Stevenson up between the guard and tackle to pick up the Roquan Smith blitz, but Smith delayed, so Stevenson released, then Smith looped around inside the center to pick up a sack. Very well-designed third-down blitz that totally fooled everyone on the offense.
Thought the Pats got away with a false start on that second-down snap, but the pass got batted down at the line anyway.
Patriots safety Kyler Dugger (ankle) is questionable to return.
Looks like Zappe is going to start the second half.
23 points ties a season-high for the Bears. Last achieved back in Week 3 against the Texans.
Seemed like Fields pre-determined a keeper on that run. Anfernee Jennings came upfield and not down the line, so it should have been a give.