Here are the Patriots snap counts from the 27-16 victory over the Steelers.
The Patriots only played 57 snaps on offense
The Steelers wanted to slow down the pace of the game as the Patriots offensive line and QB Tom Brady all played just 57 snaps on the day. C David Andrews continues to have played every snap this season.
WR Chris Hogan was in the dog house
Hogan only played 32 snaps (56%), instead of his typical alignment with WR Julian Edelman (51, 89%) and TE Rob Gronkowski (52, 91%). WR Malcolm Mitchell (31, 54%) was the prime benefactor, while WR Danny Amendola (19, 33%) continues to have a minor role. TE Martellus Bennett (30, 53%) is probably still returning from his ankle injury.
RB LeGarrette Blount was the work horse
Blount (31, 54%) led running backs in snaps. James White (25, 44%) and Brandon Bolden (3, 5%) has small parts, as did FB James Develin (11, 19%).
CB Eric Rowe was a surprise iron man
One week after getting his first action, Rowe joined CB Malcolm Butler (73, 100%) as the only two defenders to play 100% of the snaps. FS Devin McCourty (72, 99%) and SS Patrick Chung (71, 97%) were close behind. CB Logan Ryan (31, 42%) had a smaller role in the game plan, as did CB Justin Coleman (17, 23%), as S Duron Harmon (52, 71%) was the top nickel option.
The Patriots star linebacker duo returned
LB Dont’a Hightower (68, 93%) and LB Jamie Collins (65, 93%) were back in action against the powerful Steelers rushing attack. Rookie LB Elandon Roberts (13, 18%) acted as the sub, while Shea McClellin (10, 14%) saw some time, too.
I’m not sure how the Patriots defensive line rotation worked
Rob Ninkovich (56, 77%) led all defensive linemen in snaps, followed by Chris Long (50, 68%), Alan Branch (40, 55%), Malcom Brown (35, 48%), and Jabaal Sheard (35, 48%). That’s right, Sheard was the third edge defender in the rotation as Trey Fowers (20, 27%) had a reduced role. DT Anthony Johnson (21, 29%) also played a small part, but the defensive tackles didn’t play as much as I thought they would with both Vincent Valentine and Woodrow Hamilton inactive.
The following players had 15+ special teams snaps:
Barkevious Mingo (26), Nate Ebner (26), Geneo Grissom (25), Jonathan Jones (20), Brandon King (20), Brandon Bolden (20), Matthew Slater (20), Patrick Chung (16), Shea McClellin (15)