I can’t be the only one who heard Bailey Zappe was the new QB, looked him up, and did a double-take because I thought I clicked on a picture of Mac Jones. Anybody else?

Whatever the case is, the Patriots now officially have a QB problem. Belichick has blundered the situation this week during the Bears game. Mac has never been a particular inspiration up to this point, but he’s had his solid games since becoming the starter and appeared to have a good foundation to build on. Then he got hurt against the Packers in what I expected to be a season-ending ankle injury, or at least a much longer IR stint than he got. I feel like the Patriots rushed him back to play the Bears.

Especially since they basically seemed to have Mac Jones 2 just waiting in the wings holding down the fort just fine. Zappe did pretty decently in his time as a leading man. He took the Packers down to the wire (which we now know isn’t a huge accomplishment but still worthy of note). He crushed the Lions, which isn’t a big deal, but he also crushed the Browns, which is a mildly bigger deal because they actually have a defense. I fully expected Zappe to start a couple more games. Surely he could beat *checks notes* THE BEARS.

Instead, we got an extremely weird game. Mac gets the start. He looks awful. After he dumps a bad pick to the Bears, all of a sudden Zappe comes in and Foxboro gets electric. Admittedly, I think the touchdown pass was terrible. He wasn’t pressured or anything and Jakobi Meyers was wide open and still had to make a heroic effort to catch the ball. But the stadium crowd lit up and the Zappe hype got real. He then completed a bomb downfield (that was honestly a 50/50 ball into double coverage) and the place went nuts. The Patriots soon went ahead for the only time in the game and they wouldn’t stop cutting to Mac Jones looking despondent on the sideline. Did Mac Jones just get Drew Bledsoe’d by Mac Jones 2? Sure seemed like it.

Then the rest of the game happened. Zappe never did anything of value past that point and now Mac Jones gets to start against the resurgent Jets this weekend. Probably the correct call as long as Mac has the mental resilience to handle what happened to him Monday night. To be honest, neither of these two QBs looks very good. They both strike me as low-ceiling game managers at best. The Patriots defense is the team’s strong suit which means a game manager can win, but if the defense breaks down as they did against the Bears neither of these dudes can be relied upon to lead the march.

It’s so weird seeing the Patriots as a normal team with normal team problems. I’m still not used to it.