After scanning the Patriots' snap counts from the team's AFC Championship victory over the Indianapolis Colts, here are a few things that stood out on each side of the ball:
1. Along the offensive line, Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell were the two players to go wire-to-wire with 78 snaps each. Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder each got a rest on the final series of the game. Josh Kline played a healthy 73 snaps (94%). Marcus Cannon, with nine snaps, briefly took his place at right guard in the first half. Rookie Cameron Fleming saw a lot of time as an extra lineman, playing 29 snaps (37%).
2. With the Patriots deploying a run-heavy offense that often used an extra lineman, that meant less playing time for Danny Amendola (29 snaps, 37%). Nonetheless, his snap count still completely trumped that of Tim Wright, who played just five snaps. That switch in personnel will probably carry over to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for Amendola, yesterday was not his best game. He had just one catch for eight yards and also had a drop. Julian Edelman missed a bit of time in the game with a hip injury, but still managed 62 snaps (79%).
3. At running back, LeGarrette Blount was the primary early down ball carrier, and played a season high 42 snaps (54%). It was the first time this year he played more than half the team’s snaps, and he responded with 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns. Because of Blount’s effectiveness, the Patriots did not use Jonas Gray until garbage time (5 snaps, 6%). Shane Vereen’s playing time was down from a week ago, as he played just 30 snaps (38%). Again, with the run-heavy attack, this is not a surprise. Also worth noting: Fullback James Develin played 17 snaps, which is his highest count since the last time the Patriots played the Colts (week 11).
1. Cornerback Kyle Arrington was one of two players that went wire-to-wire for the Patriots with 56 snaps played. He was critical in the Patriots’ gameplan, as he shadowed stud receiver T.Y. Hilton throughout the day and held him to just a single catch. Darrelle Revis missed a bit of time with a shoulder injury (45 snaps) and Brandon Browner came off the field at times due to the match-up (39 snaps).
2. Joe Vellano stepped in for an injured Chris Jones, and played 20 snaps (36%) – mostly as an interior rusher. Overall, the Patriots were relatively well balanced at defensive tackle. Vince Wilfork led all at the position with 31 snaps, followed by Sealver Siliga with 26 (he missed some time with a foot injury), Alan Branch with 25, and Vellano at 20. Akeem Ayers also saw some additional playing time with Chris Jones out, playing in sub-packages and netting 11 snaps).
3. The Patriots played a little bit more base defense than usual, with the Colts going tight end heavy at times. That meant that linebacker Jonathan Casillas received a bit of extra playing time because of this (12 snaps). With the Seahawks likely to deploy a run-heavy, read-option offense, the base defense will come into focus over the next two weeks.
Note: Snap counts tracked by NFL, provided via official gamebook.