There is something about those New England Patriots first halves. In the last two weeks, they have suggested the potential for the Patriots to be somewhat productive offensively. But the offense goes to sleep and cannot offer anything dangerous in the second half.
Sure, New England did get a second-half touchdown to cut the Kansas City Chiefs' lead from 27-10 to 27-17, but that was only because the Patriots were set up so deep in Kansas City territory after an interception. Running back Kevin Harris then was able to run the ball in from 18 yards—more on Harris in just a minute.
Maybe we can simply crack the game up to the Patriots simply not having anywhere near the same talent level as Kansas City offensively, but even the Chiefs were not perfect in that regard. They only had 326 total yards and were held to 5.3 yards per play because of another pretty good New England showing defensively.
So, which people in New England need to be proverbially benched after Week 15?
The Bailey Zappe experiment will not work
Zappe was great in the first half of Week 14 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but in the second half, he led the offense to six drives that ended in punts and one that ended when Zappe threw a pick. Zappe started Week 15 hot as well, but many of his passes were of the shorter variety, as New England doesn't really have any receivers that truly scare a defense.
When the game got tight, though, especially early in the second half, Zappe fell apart. His third-quarter interception to the Chiefs' Willie Gay was astonishingly stupid. Zappe seemingly threw to a space along the sidelines where only he saw an opening for a Pats receiver to catch it. He also lost almost all his accuracy in the fourth quarter and Zappe finished 5 of 13 after starting the game 16 of 18.
Some of this could be due to a breakdown in the blocking in front of him, but he has not proven that he can lead an offense for an entire game. Mac Jones has had his issues as well, but New England has more financially invested in him moving forward. Zappe might be a decent backup during his career, but as this is a completely lost season in Foxborough, the team might as well go back to Jones and make him prove he is worth a look at keeping on the roster in 2024.
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