After scanning the Patriots' snap counts from the team's week 16 victory over the New York Jets, here are a few things that stood out on each side of the ball:
1. Heading into the game, we were unsure whether it would be Danny Amendola or Tim Wright receiving the majority of Julian Edelman’s snaps. As expected, both received a jump in playtime, but Amendola’s was more significant. Amendola played 45 of 64 snaps, tied for his highest playtime percentage of the season (week 1). Wright played about half the snaps, but Amendola was far more productive. Danny secured eight catches on a team-high 11 targets, while Wright had just one pass thrown his direction in 32 snaps (50%).
2. The Patriots’ offensive line was a mess. Ryan Wendell, Sebastian Vollmer, and Bryan Stork once again went wire to wire. Nate Solder played 55 of 64 snaps. He would report as eligible when Marcus Cannon (27 snaps) or Cameron Fleming (37 snaps) came into the game. The problem is, when the Patriots would revert to their normal personnel, it requires Solder to come out of the game for a snap. Josh Kline started at left guard, but was benched in the second half. Ryan Wendell moved to left guard down the stretch, while Fleming moved inside to right guard (after briefly playing LG).
3. Jonas Gray played the majority of the snaps at the beginning of the game, but after he was proven ineffective, the Patriots spread the formations out more frequently, and that meant a heavy dosage of Shane Vereen. Vereen finished with 43 snaps to Gray’s 16. Brandon Bolden also got some key touches down the stretch, and played seven total snaps and had a season high 32 yards on 5 carries.
1. The Patriots really tightened up their defensive rotations yesterday. They had seven players go wire-to-wire: Devin McCourty, Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Rob Ninkovich, Darrelle Revis, and Brandon Browner.
2. One would think that the Patriots could use some diversity at defensive end / outside linebacker. Neither Chandler Jones or Ninkovich came off the field at any time yesterday. Akeem Ayers was the third linebacker, but did not see any time as an edge rusher. Ninkovich, in particular, could have used a breather. The Patriots have a great third pass rushing option in Ayers, but he played just five snaps. Getting him on the field wouldn’t be a bad idea. Especially considering the Patriots’ rush was nearly non-existent yesterday.
3. The Patriots played a fair amount in the 3-4 base yesterday. That meant increased playing time for the "big" trio of Sealver Siliga (47 snaps, 75%), Vince Wilfork (56 snaps, 89%), and Alan Branch (26 snaps, 41%). All three flashed in run defense, and that’s an line-up the Patriots figure to feature more down the stretch.
Note: Snap counts tracked by NFL, provided via official gamebook.