The Patriots' second-year quarterback didn't make any critical turnovers, but only completed 13 of 25 passes for 141 yards with a 68.9 passer rating. What might have been worse though was that he took five sacks, all in the second half, taking three of them on third-down or fourth-down plays.
To make matters worse, four of those five sacks came on back-to-back plays. The Patriots had a promising drive to open up the second half, getting the ball to the Chargers' 32-yard line. But Zappe took sacks on back-to-back plays, moving them out of field goal range and forcing the Patriots to punt.
The Patriots had another promising drive that was ruined by back-t0-back sacks, with Zappe going down on consecutive plays on third- and fourth-downs after they got the ball to the Chargers' 28-yard line in the fourth quarter.
Zappe took accountability for not throwing the ball away or sooner on all of his five sacks.
“That's totally on me,” Zappe told reporters. “I got to understand where we're at on the field. I've got to understand that we [need] points. I've got to understand when plays, when they're done and there's nobody open, that I've got to throw the ball away. I just tried to do too much. That's on me.”
Bailey Zappe on sacks: "I gotta understand where we're at on the field… I just tried to do too much and that's on me" pic.twitter.com/rovYnaE8jm
— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) December 3, 2023
Bailey Zappe continued to harp on sacks when asked what went well in Patriots' loss
When Zappe was asked what things he felt went right during his first start of the season, he gave a short list of things before moving his attention back to the thing he felt he needs to work on the most.
“I think we did a few things good – run game, pass game,” Zappe said. “But there's some things I need to work on. Like we just talked about, [I need] to understand when the play's over and not taking a sack when you're in field goal territory when you can get points. It's things like that. That falls on me, and I've got to get better at it. I've got to back, watch the film and get ready for Thursday against the Steelers.”
Bill Belichick didn't say who the Patriots' starting quarterback would be for Thursday's game, but Zappe knows what he needs to do if he gets the nod again in Week 14.
“There were some good things, some bad things,” Zappe said. “We had a chance there at the end. Defense played great. Offense, that starts with me. I’ve got to make plays, toward the end I’ve got to throw better balls, I’ve got to make balls catchable especially in conditions like this. It starts with me on the offensive side with getting things going.”