The clock was running down in the second quarter and the pocket was collapsing around Justin Fields, with one defender coming at him from the right, another circling around on his left, and a third coming straight at him.
A quick pump fake froze one of the rushers. Fields drifted left, barely eluding the outstretched arm of another, and then stutter-stepped to the right to squeeze through a hole that barely existed. And then it was a race to the sideline, picking up 20 yards on a third-and-14 and moving Chicago into field goal range.
Fields threw for 179 yards and a touchdown and ran for 82 yards and another score on Monday night, converting five third downs with his legs and five more with his arm to lead Chicago to a 33-14 victory over the New England Patriots.
”He kept the drives going,” Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon said. ”We would get them in third and long, and it seemed like he would just find a running lane and pick it up with his feet, or making a throw. He would just keep the chains moving. We had no answer for him.”
Fields ran for a 3-yard score in the first quarter to give the Bears (3-4) a 10-0 lead. After Bailey Zappe came off the bench to replace Mac Jones and led New England to back-to-back touchdowns and a 14-10 lead, Fields hit Khalil Herbert for a 25-yard touchdown pass to start a string of 23 unanswered points.
”I’m still growing, still getting better,” Fields said. ”The sky’s the limit for sure.”
In a matchup of quarterbacks from the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship game, Fields outperformed Jones, who led Alabama to victory over Fields’ Ohio State. And Fields also outplayed Zappe, who came on after Jones was managed just two three-and-outs and an interception in his return after missing three games with a high ankle sprain.
With the damp Gillette Stadium crowd chanting ”Zappe! Zappe!” the fourth-round draft pick from Western Kentucky led the Patriots to back-to-back touchdowns and a 14-10 lead. But the Bears scored the next 23 points.
”Just a poor showing, across the board, from beginning all the way to the end,” New England safety Devin McCourty said. ”If we give up 33 points, I don’t care who plays quarterback. We’re going to have a tough time winning the game.”
Zappe was 5 of 6 for 109 yards and a touchdown in the first half. But in the second, he was 9 of 16 for 76 yards and two interceptions. Jones completed 3 of 6 passes for 13 yards, with one interception. Rhamondre Stevenson caught eight passes for 59 yards and ran 11 times for 39 for the Patriots (3-4).
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the plan all along was to play both quarterbacks, and that Jones was not benched for his performance. He declined to say who would start next week against the Jets.
”He would have gone back in (but) the score got out of hand,” he said. ”I didn’t think that was the right thing to do.”
David Montgomery ran for 62 yards and Herbert did the same for Chicago, which had lost three straight games and four out of five. The Bears had also lost five straight to the Patriots and eight out of nine since beating New England in the 1986 Super Bowl 46-10.
Bears kicker Cairo Santos was 4 for 4, including a 50-yarder late in the third quarter that made it 26-14. After Zappe went three-and-out, Dante Pettis returned a punt 27 yards to the Patriots’ 39-yard line; Herbert and Montgomery took it the last 26 yards to give Chicago a 33-14 lead.
Bears rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker had their first career interceptions.
The loss deprived Belichick of a 325th career victory – regular season and playoffs – that would have moved him past Monsters of the Midway Hall of Famer George Halas on the NFL’s all-time list. Belichick and Halas remain tied for second behind Don Shula, who won 347 games for the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots honored former defensive lineman Richard Seymour at halftime as he was presented his Hall of Fame ring by owner Robert Kraft. Seymour was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past summer. He spent eight seasons with New England and was a member of three Super Bowl winning teams.
Bears OL Lucas Patrick left in the first half with a toe injury.
Patriots: S Kyle Dugger left in the third quarter with an ankle injury. C David Andrews was evaluated for a head injury after taking a blindside block from Bears defensive lineman Mike Pennel following a fourth-quarter interception. Pennel was ejected on the play.
Bears: At the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Patriots: At the New York Jets on Sunday.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL