Pa Henry McKenna
By FOX Sports AFC East

Much was said about Patriots on Sunday, the defense shut down the Lions’ most combative defense. And it is justified. But perhaps we’ve lost sight of the fact that Detroit also has the worst scoring defense. After five weeks, they scored 34 points per game. Their passing defense is the seventh worst in the NFL with 261 yards allowed per game.

These numbers are very important when we begin to understand the performance of Bailey Zappé. New England set the young quarterback up for success, making him look less like he was (a fourth-round draft pick) and more like a veteran game-man. Zappé went 17-of-21 (81%) for 188 yards, one touchdown and one interception with zero balls and no fumbles. His only interception came on a drop from Nelson Agholor. Overall, I would rate this as a clean play for Zappe.

“Bailey made a lot of good decisions, was accurate with the ball,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Thought he showed some poise in some pressure situations, when he came out of it and found the open tube, made good decisions.”

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So what’s next for New England at quarterback?

If Mc Jones will get healthy, he will start. I’m about 99% sure of that. That one percentage point of uncertainty goes back to that quote from Belichick after Jones’ three-interception game when he hurt his ankle against the Ravens.

“Obviously, turnovers hurt us,” Belichick said a few weeks ago.

As good-natured as it sounds, he said it twice. He didn’t attribute their 37-26 loss to Baltimore to turnovers alone, but he came pretty close. Jones has two touchdowns to five interceptions this season. So if Zappé plays clean football and Jones gets sloppy in the coming weeks, then maybe we’ll see a change at full-back. it is possible

But it would be at the bottom. For now, Jones will return as he recovers from a high ankle sprain. He will not lose the title of starting quarterback.

However, Zappe has opened the door for himself if Jones doesn’t address his turnover issues.

If you think I’m crazy, consider what Coach Zappé told me in college after the draft.

“(Zape) definitely tries to take the other guy’s job every day — no matter who the guy is in front of him,” Tyson Helton said by phone. “I think it’s great that he has an opportunity to say, ‘OK, here’s a big-name starter in Mack Jones who is a very, very good player.’ I also admire him. I think he will play for a long time and be very successful. … I have no doubt that from day one he will push whoever is in front of him.”

Is this Zappening? Let’s see.

Before joining FOX Sports as an AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.


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