For the second straight game, the New England Patriots have decided to bench quarterback Mac Jones. The third-year quarterback was pulled from the team’s Week 5 contest against the New Orleans Saints in the early fourth quarter.
At that point, the Patriots were down 31-0. Jones had gone 12-for-22 for 110 yards and two interceptions, including another returned for a touchdown. He also was credited with a lost fumble on an unsuccessful toss to running back Rhamondre Stevenson.
In his place, sophomore QB Bailey Zappe entered the game.
The Patriots went the same route during last week’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys as well. In that game, Jones was pulled in the late third quarter after completing 12 of 21 passes for 150 yards with a pair of interceptions and a lost fumble; two of his takeaways were returned for touchdowns en route to a 38-3 blowout defeat.
Jones originally joined the Patriots as the 15th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Starting for the team since Day 1 of his rookie season, he led New England to the playoffs right away but has since not been able to build on the promise he had shown.
Including the likely loss to the Saints, the Patriots will now have gone 17-20 with Jones as their starting QB. They will have gone only 8-16 since the 2021 bye week.
Zappe, meanwhile, joined the Patriots as a fourth-round selection in 2022. He saw surprisingly extensive action as an injury replacement during his rookie campaign, but was released during this year’s roster cutdown day before returning via the practice squad. Now, he has replaced the nominal starter in back-to-back weeks.