EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — During the leadup to Sunday’s matchup with the Giants, Bill Belichick repeatedly declined to reveal who would start at quarterback for the Patriots.

The head coach stuck to that script after New England’s 10-7 loss at MetLife Stadium, which featured uninspiring play from both signal-callers.

Asked whether Bailey Zappe, who replaced a struggling Mac Jones at halftime, would start next Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, Belichick replied: “We just finished the game.”

Jones went 12-for-21 for 89 yards with two interceptions and a fumble in his two quarters against New York. Zappe went 9-for-14 for 54 yards with one pick in relief, with all nine of his completions going to targets within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.

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It was Jones’ fourth benching of the season and second in the last two games, both of which the Patriots lost by one score.

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Zappe became just the second NFL quarterback this season to complete nine or more passes in a game and finish with fewer than 60 passing yards, joining Arizona Cardinals rookie backup Clayton Tune.

Belichick said the split of first-team practice opportunities this week between Jones and Zappe was “probably not quite” 50-50, adding that both received “plenty of reps.” Asked whether the team could fairly judge Zappe when he hasn’t received a full starter workload on the practice field, Belichick replied: “It’s everybody’s job to be ready to go.”

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The coach sidestepped repeated questions about why the Patriots chose to start Jones, who was benched late in New England’s Week 10 loss in Germany, and whether the team intended to play both QBs on Sunday. He wouldn’t say whether Jones’ halftime removal was pre-planned or performance-based.

“I thought both guys deserved a chance to play,” Belichick said, later reiterating: “I told everyone to be ready to go.”

The loss dropped the Patriots to 2-9 on the season. They have six games remaining and are in line for their highest NFL draft pick in decades, guaranteed to hold no lower than the third overall selection entering Week 13.

With neither Jones nor Zappe impressing this season (and third-stringer Will Grier off the roster after being released on Saturday), finding a new franchise quarterback should be a draft-day priority.

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Featured image via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images