The Chicago Bears thumped the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football to close Week 7, and that was only one odd moment in a night loaded with them. The Bears dominated the first quarter, but at one point in the second quarter, the Patriots looked ready to run away with things in an unexpected fashion.
Mac Jones made his return from a high ankle sprain, but struggled mightily in his return. He completed three of his first six passes for only 13 yards, and was benched after an interception. The pick took some amazing athleticism by Jaquan Brisker, but it was still enough for Bill Belichick to replace Jones with Bailey Zappe.
It didn’t take long for Zappe to make an impact. After the Patriots defense forced a three-and-out, Zappe completed three passes for 54 yards, including a 20-yarder to Rhamondre Stevenson and then a 30-yarder to Jakobi Meyers for a touchdown.
On the ensuing Bears drive, the Patriots defense picked off Justin Fields and Zappe returned with a huge pass to DeVante Parker that set up a second touchdown and gave the Patriots a 14-10 lead.
After that second drive, Twitter went into overdrive hyping up Zappe. Naturally, there were the Zappe/Jones-Wally Pipp jokes.
The Bailey Zappe Wally Pipp timeline begins now— lukezim (@lukezim) October 2, 2022
I cannot imagine what is going through Mac Jones’ head right now. Listening to the stadium chant Zappe’s name then he comes in and drives the field. WOW. Are we seeing a Wally Pipp moment?! #ZappeHour #GoPats— Jason King (@Jason72King) October 25, 2022
Bailey Zappe about to introduce millennials to the name Wally Pipp pic.twitter.com/K7yVbqopka— Bookie Blitz (@bookie_blitz) October 2, 2022
The better comparison involved the Patriots quarterback position.
mac jones is getting bledsoe’d— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) October 25, 2022
Drew Bledsoe to Mac Jones after the game: pic.twitter.com/xL1T4fYZ3U— Ethan Hedberg (@ethan_hedberg) October 25, 2022
Drew Bledsoe and Mac Jones pic.twitter.com/dWoKYOyx5s— Jamey Eisenberg (@JameyEisenberg) October 25, 2022
Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones. Time is a flat circle pic.twitter.com/DTeLlIeVos— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 25, 2022
Mac Jones managed to go from “the next Tom Brady” to “the next Drew Bledsoe” in less than a year that’s actually nuts— Bryce (2-5) (@HamlerMileHigh) October 25, 2022
Prior to Monday’s game, Zappe’s Offensive Rookie of the Year odds sat at +6000 at DraftKings Sportsbook. He had done solid work the previous two starts, and in spite of some chatter of a QB controversy, it seemed like Jones was going to slot back into the starting lineup and that would be that.
After those two drives, sports bettors decided to jump on Zappe Offensive Rookie of the Year odds before they moved too far. At one point, he was bet down to +750 to win the award. Given how he performed on those two drives, it seemed like solid value.
And then reality kicked in. On the next drive, Zappe fumbled on his own 39 to set up a Bears field goal to end the half. The second half saw the Patriots offense finish with a pair of punts and a pair of interceptions. Zappe had completed his first four passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. By the end of the game, his line was 14 of 22 for 185 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
The morning after the game, he has climbed back up to +1400. That is still tied with Commanders running back Brian Robinson, Jr. for fourth best. Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III is the favorite at +225, followed by Texans RB Dameon Pierce at +330, and Saints wide receiver Chris Olave at +800.
The quarterback position is always a value option when it comes to OROY odds. Kenny Pickett is the only other quarterback of note on the list with +2000 odds. Given how QBs get credit for team wins in the eyes of many, a strong run by the team can be enough to get the QB into the OROY race.
Zappe could still win this thing, but it’s safe to say this is not as clear-cut as some thought it would be for a few brief moments in the second quarter of Monday Night Football. We don’t even know how many more starts Zappe will make. After the game, head coach Bill Belichick told the media he had informed the quarterbacks both would play. Belichick claimed Jones was not benched and that he would have seen more playing time if the game had not gotten out of hand.
Make of that what you will as you consider betting on Bailey Zappe for OROY.