It had to be a helpless feeling for New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe on the four occasions it occurred against the Chicago Bears on “Monday Night Football.”
Zappe had that number of passes tipped at the line of scrimmage once he came on in relief of Mac Jones early in the second quarter. Three times they fell harmlessly to the turf, but one batted ball wound up in the hands of Bears star linebacker Roquan Smith.
Listed at 6-foot-1 — that might be giving the rookie an extra inch or two — Zappe’s lack of size seemed to contribute to some of his struggles, but the signal-caller, who completed 14-of-22 passes for 185 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, didn’t buy that notion when appearing on WEEI’s “Merloni, Fauria & Mego” on Tuesday.
“I wouldn’t say it’s difficult for me at all,” Zappe said, as transcribed by The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian. “The Bears did a really good job getting into the passing lanes, they did a really good job with some of their stunts … with the defensive end wrapping around getting into passing right when I was throwing it.
“That just comes down to me finding lanes, and continuing to work on that. To be honest with you, it’s not difficult. I just gotta get better at it.”
Zappe has one of the highest batted balls percentages in the entire NFL, according to The Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard, despite only starting in two games and coming in as the backup in the first half in two other contests.
It’s something that stood out on movie to Smith and the Bears believed they could take advantage of Zappe’s undersized nature.