The New England Patriots have been the gold standard of the NFL for the better part of two decades as a team known for their solid play on both offense and defense. However, those days appear to be in the past.
The Patriots were thoroughly outplayed in their 33-14 loss to the Chicago Bears at Gillette Stadium on Monday Night Football. New England was inept on offense and abysmal on defense, allowing a team that had struggled to start the season to dominate them in every facet of the game.
The most notable thing the Patriots did on Monday was bench starting quarterback Mac Jones in favor of rookie Bailey Zappe. The move initially looked brilliant when Zappe led New England to back-to-back touchdown drives, but the team wasn't able to sustain the momentum.
The Patriots were out-gained by the Bears 390-260. Chicago totaled 243 yards on the ground compared to New England's 70. It was a surprisingly lackluster showing from a Bill Belichick-coached team on its home field.
NFL Twitter unloaded on the Patriots for their ineptitude on Monday night:
Kevin Fishbain @kfishbain
Bears notched their...<br>- First win over the Patriots since 2000 (had lost 5 in a row)<br>- First win as a 7.5+ point road underdog since 2015 (had lost 13 in a row)<br>- First win as a primetime underdog since 2020 (had lost 9 in a row)<br>- First win since Sept. 25 (had lost 3 in a row)
New England reigned over the AFC East for years, but with Monday's loss, the team is now in last place and the only squad in the division without a winning record at 3-4. The Patriots are usually the picture of stability, but now they face questions at quarterback regarding whether it will be Jones or Zappe under center going forward.
It will be interesting to see how New England tries to bounce back when it returns to action on Sunday in a crucial division matchup against the New York Jets.