The New England Patriots battled injuries and limited snaps en route to a 33-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
Tre Jackson played more than Shaq Mason
The two tackles, Sebastian Vollmer and Marcus Cannon, and the pivot, David Andrews, played all 66 snaps on offense, but the Patriots rotated their guards. Whether it was to get more experience for right guard Tre Jackson (61, 92%), or the coaching staff thinks that Jackson is the superior player, left guard Shaq Mason (51, 77%) sat out more time in favor of swing-guard Josh Kline (20, 30%).
Brandon Bolden led the running backs
In another interesting coaching decision, Bolden (28, 42%) outsnapped both James White (22, 33%) and Joey Iosefa (20, 30%). White is the far better receiver and blocker and Iosefa is the stronger runner. This might have been a game where the coaches wanted to limit Iosefa's touches due to his inexperience.
Leonard Hankerson played 10 snaps (15%)
Brandon LaFell (62, 94%), Rob Gronkowski (62, 94%), Keshawn Martin (55, 83%), and Michael Williams (50, 76%) were the key offensive players, with Danny Amendola (12, 18%) not seeing much time at all before his first half injury. Hankerson saw 10 snaps, and Matthew Slater played just one snap. The receiving weapons are dwindling late in the year.
Jerod Mayo was the top replacement at linebacker
After Dont'a Hightower (31, 50%) went down with an injury, Mayo (35, 56%) stepped up in the defense and played fairly well. Jamie Collins (62, 100%) played every snap, while Darius Fleming (4, 6%) and Jonathan Bostic (2, 3%) didn't see much time at all. Bostic was able to slam into Patrick Chung and remove him from the game in his two snaps.
The defensive tackle rotation is down to three
With the loss of Dominique Easley, the expectation was for Akiem Hicks (33, 53%) to see an expanded role. That happened. Rookie Malcom Brown (36, 58%) and Alan Branch (29, 47%) continued to contribute a bunch, but Sealver Siliga (6, 10%) barely saw the field at all. The snap count for Siliga is a bad sign for his future.
Jabaal Sheard outsnapped Chandler Jones
Rob Ninkovich (42, 68%) led the defensive ends in snaps, while Jabaal Sheard (41, 66%) was right behind him. Chandler Jones had an extremely effective 37 snaps (60%), while rookie Geneo Grissom (14, 23%) saw some time. Don't look too far into it- the Patriots just wanted to keep Jones healthy.
Jordan Richards stepped up at safety
Logan Ryan (62, 100%) and Duron Harmon (62, 100%) represented the Rutgers ironmen, while Malcolm Butler (59, 95%) and Patrick Chung (53, 85%) played the majority of the game. Richaards (30, 48%) was the next defensive back up, and then a surprise by Nate Ebner (18, 29%). Cornerback Leonard Johnson (17, 27%), safety Tavon Wilson (6, 10%), and cornerback Justin Coleman (3, 5%) weren't part of the game plan.
The following players saw 15+ snaps on special teams:
Nate Ebner (24), Tavon Wilson (20), Darius Fleming (20), Jonathan Bostic (20), Brandon King (20), Matthew Slater (20), Jordan Richards (19), Michael Williams (16), Stephen Gostkowski (16)