Bryan Stork missed 6 snaps because of a shoe
The offensive line nearly pitched a complete game as Sebastian Vollmer, Shaq Mason, Tre Jackson, and Marcus Cannon played all 67 snaps. Stork was replaced by David Andrews for 6 snaps late in the game as his shoe apparently broke. Not a big deal, but it was clear that this was the best offensive line of the past few weeks, against a very good defensive front. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come.
Brandon Bolden outsnapped James White
One week after White seemed to be primed for a major final quarter of the year, White (25, 37%) was outsnapped by Bolden (34, 51%). Once LeGarrette Blount (15, 22%) went down with an injury, Bolden filled the role admirably. It's clear that the Patriots realized they wanted to rebalance the offense and make the defensive front respect the rushing game to take some heat off of quarterback Tom Brady (67, 100%).
The skill players were in full rotation
Brandon LaFell (62, 93%) and Keshawn Martin (50, 75%) led the offensive skill players in snaps, while the rehabbing Rob Gronkowski (41, 61%) and Danny Amendola (39, 58%) saw limited roles. Tight ends Mike Williams (37, 55%) and Asante Cleveland (17, 25%) were big helps in pass protection, while Scott Chandler (1, 1%) basically got the evening off. The offense looked much better for having Gronkowski back on the field, but it's also extremely clear that neither the tight end, nor Amendola, were at 100% and this offense can still improve.
The quadruplet defensive tackles are down to three
Sealver Siliga was a healthy scratch and Dominique Easley (12, 22%) went down with an apparent quad injury. In their place, Malcom Brown (28, 52%), Alan Branch (25, 46%), and Akiem Hicks (24, 44%) had to stand up and all three of them had incredible days. This is possibly the deepest position on the roster and it's clear how fresh these players are late in the game and late in the season.
Jerod Mayo stepped up after Jonathan Freeny's injury
Jamie Collins was one of three defenders to play 54 (100%) of the snaps, while Freeny (5, 9%) left with an a hand injury. Jonathan Bostic (2, 4%) and Darius Fleming (1, 2%) saw extremely limited time as Jerod Mayo (41, 76%) saw the bulk of the time. Mayo is clearly the best back-up linebacker and should continue to play as Dont'a Hightower and Freeny monitor their injuries.
Who is Leonard Johnson?
Cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan (54, 100%) were ironmen, while Patrick Chung (51, 94%) saw plenty of time. Devin McCourty (30, 56%) was replaced by Duron Harmon (29, 54%) after his ankle injury. But this new fella Johnson (42, 78%) played in his first game as a Patriot and he absolutely stood out. He might have only seen time thanks to Justin Coleman's wrist injury (zero defensive snaps) but it's easy to expect Johnson to become a fan favorite.
These players had 15+ snaps on special teams:
Nate Ebner (24), Darius Fleming (22), Brandon King (20), Jordan Richards (20), Matthew Slater (20), Eric Martin (18), Brandon Bolden (15)