Bailey Zappe unable to improve New England Patriots’ anemic offense in shutout loss to Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick had been mum all week about his starting quarterback for Sunday’s Week 13 game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

As expected, the start went to backup Bailey Zappe, yet the Patriots’ offense remained as quiet as their head coach was about the week-long quarterback speculation.

Making his first start in 2023, Bailey Zappe led the New England offense to its second scoreless game of the season, as the Chargers outlasted the Patriots, 6-0, in rainy conditions at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

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It was the sixth defeat for the Patriots (2-11), whose league-worst scoring offense was held under double digits for the third straight week. To make matters worse, the performance came against a Chargers teams that entered the game as the 32nd ranked defense in the NFL.

Making the third start of his career, Zappe finished 13-of-25 passing for 141 yards. While he didn’t turn the ball over, the second-year pro also did little in the passing game to move the Patriots down the field.

In the first half the Patriots’ six drives produced 107 total yards, five first downs, five punts, four three-and-outs, one turnover and zero points as the Patriots headed to the locker room trailing at halftime.

Zappe played better in the second half, completing 8-of-12 passes for 102 yards, but he was also sacked five times, twice by Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack.

Bailey Zappe replaces Mac Jones as QB1

The Patriots benched Jones last week because of his ineffective play and inserted Bailey Zappe, who went 6-for-6 passing and led New England to its one and only touchdown on his initial drive. But he finished the game completing only three of his final eight passes, and the Patriots fell to the Giants, 10-7.

During the week Zappe practiced with the first team, Malik Cunningham got the backup reps, and Jones ended up being the scout-team QB.

All three quarterbacks were activated for Sunday’s game. Aside from Zappe, Cunningham was expected to see some playing time as part of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s game plan, but he never entered the game.

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