GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Patriots rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe was the last man standing on the quarterback depth chart in Sunday's overtime loss to the Packers, and had to fill some big shoes. Backup Brian Hoyer was ruled out with a head injury early in the first quarter after being hit with a massive sack. Hoyer himself was filling in for starter Mac Jones, who was out with an ankle injury.
Zappe took the field against a top-ten Green Bay pass defense and was playing opposite reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field — in his first NFL appearance.
The rookie out of Western Kentucky was in for the rest of the game, ending with one touchdown and completing 10 of 15 for 99 yards, no interceptions.
Powered by a strong rushing attack and a lackluster performance from Rodgers in the first half, the Patriots kept it close and led at several points before taking the game to overtime. A key defensive stop set the Patriots up at about midfield in OT, but they were unable to seal the deal. Rodgers marched down the field in the next series and the Packers won on a field goal, 27-24.
In his postgame presser, Zappe gave credit to his teammates for keeping him calm. He said after the first handoff, things began to settle down for him.
Zappe called it "a dream come true" to play in an NFL game, but that a loss was "obviously not the outcome we wanted at all."
The game was, in many respects, closer than it should have been: betting lines (based on the more experienced Hoyer under center) before the game had the Packers as nine point favorites.