Rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe was one of the highlights of the Patriots’ loss in the preseason opener to the Giants on Thursday night.
He bounced back from a rocky start after starting the game 3 of 9 passes and ended up throwing for 205 yards on 19 of 32 passes with a touchdown and an interception.
The strong first impression was not lost on quarterback Brian Hoyer.
“[Zappe] showed a lot of courage,” Hoyer said. “It’s not easy to do in your first experience in the NFL, especially with what they were throwing at us defensively, a lot of zero blitzes, a lot of tight coverage, a few overload blitzes, so stuff that we don’t didn’t see, and he hung on, made some great throws.
Late in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Patriots were on the verge of snatching the win from the Giants after hanging out for most of the game. New England scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Zappe to Lil’Jordan Humphrey, capping a 9-play, 69-yard drive with just under five minutes to go.
In the end, the Patriots left too much time on the clock. The Giants walked down the field and scored the winning field goal on their next possession when time expired.
But, it was clear that once Zappe had a few sets under his belt, he looked a lot more confident than he did at the start of the game.
“Yeah, kind of as the game went on, like you said, you get more and more comfortable,” Zappe said. “The more I come on the sidelines, I talk to my coaches, I talk to my teammates about what they’ve seen, what they’re seeing, and I drive back and I just have this next game mentality, and that’s kind of what my coaches, my teammates, we’re all trying to communicate to everybody is to have that next game mentality and move on from what’s come before and move on next and try to do our best, to do our job.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad start for the rookie replacing Mac Jones and playing without most of the team’s starters.
“I thought he was quiet all night,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “Again, we are all going to learn things. He will learn things. He made good plays. There are other things that are part of the learning process.
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