Patriots Players Laud Bailey Zappe For ‘Amazing’ Performance

'Just proud of that dude'

by

October 2

GREEN BAY, Wis. — When Brian Hoyer exited Sunday’s game against the Packers due to a head injury, Patriots fans surely expected the worst. They would’ve been justified in reaching for their remotes once rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe walked onto the field in the first quarter.

And yet Zappe, New England’s third-string quarterback, nearly pulled off what would’ve been one of the more stunning victories of the Bill Belichick era. The 2021 fourth-round pick brought Aaron Rodgers to overtime and forced Green Bay to win on a last-second overtime field goal from Mason Crosby.

The Patriots, without Mac Jones and Hoyer, held a lead after the first quarter, led by three at halftime and were up seven in the fourth quarter. And Zappe wasn’t just a passenger; the Western Kentucky product completed 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown, including a 25-yard TD to DeVante Parker.

Zappe, who was sacked three times, obviously made some mistakes in New England’s 27-24 loss, but he showed toughness and made big plays in a seemingly impossible spot. The Packers’ 14-game winning streak at Lambeau Field almost got snapped by Bailey Zappe.

After the game, Patriots players lauded the rookie quarterback for his impressive NFL debut.

Matthew Slater: “Very impressed. For him to come into this situation, in this place with all the mystique and, you know, Aaron Rodgers being on the other side of the field, he just controlled the controllables. He stayed poised. He did what he was asked to do. And it speaks volumes to him being a professional and being ready to go. I mean, this is the first time he’s been active all season, and then you throw him into that situation and he doesn’t flinch. … Really proud of the way he came and competed tonight.”

Rhamondre Stevenson: “I’m super proud of that guy. Rookie coming in and doing this at a high level, against Green Bay and at Lambeau Field, it’s a hard task. So, just proud of him and the way he took the field and did his thing.”

Kendrick Bourne: “Poised. Really relaxed. Seemed like he was ready to go for the moment. I was kind of whispering to him, too, through the week, ‘Just be ready, you never know.’ And his moment came. And to play at Lambeau Field under a crazy crowd. I was just proud of that dude, man. That was impressive.”

David Andrews: “Proud of the way he competed, man. Went really quickly from probably thinking he wasn’t playing much this year, to getting thrown in the mix in a pretty hostile environment against a really good defense. I thought he led us well, thought he did a really good job.”

Matthew Judon: “I just wanna give a huge shoutout to Zappe, man. The way he stepped up in that game. I don’t believe he even took that many reps with the (first-team offense). And the way he played, the poise he had — that’s amazing for a rookie. That’s good for our team. But just big shout-outs to him for being ready.”

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As for Bill Belichick, he didn’t say much about Zappe. The Patriots head coach began his postgame press conference with a lengthy statement about Aaron Rodgers before adding, “Thought Bailey really competed well.”

When asked how he thought Zappe did in the game, Belichick simply said “good.” He then added “thought he competed well” when asked again.

Ultimately, Zappe’s performance was a neat, memorable anecdote that will be overshadowed by a loss that dropped the Patriots to 1-3 for the second consecutive season. New England now is in last place in the AFC East for the first time since it was 0-1 in 2014.

Furthermore, the unfortunate reality is the Patriots face essentially a must-win game next Sunday when they host the Detroit Lions. At this point, it’s unclear whether Jones, Hoyer or Zappe will get the start.

Still, if Zappe winds up getting the nod, his teammates should feel confident that the rookie signal-caller is capable of holding his own on the NFL stage.

Thumbnail photo via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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