These are our snap count takeaways from the Patriots 30-17 victory over the 49ers.
The offensive line and quarterback position played the whole game
LT Nate Solder, LG Joe Thuney, OC David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Marcus Cannon, and QB Tom Brady played all 76 offensive snaps. OT Cameron Fleming came on as an extra blocker on 6 snaps (8%).
RB Dion Lewis was third in the running back rotation
Lewis (21 snaps, 27%) trailed RB LeGarrette Blount (34, 44%) and RB James White (24, 31%) in time in the backfield. It’s pretty clear that Lewis is going to take time away from both Blount and White and we could see a 40%/30%/30% split based upon match-ups against the opposing defense.
WR Malcolm Mitchell took over for WR Chris Hogan
Mitchell (65, 84%) was a full time player on the outside and he found a way to produce opposite of WR Julian Edelman (66, 86%). WR Danny Amendola (42, 55%) also played a fair bit, but the Patriots effectively played Amendola on passing plays and FB James Develin (34, 44%) on running plays.
TE Martellus Bennett (73, 95%) was almost an iron man, while TE Matt Lengel (6, 8%) saw a few snaps of his own.
Only four defenders played every snap and they were all defensive backs
SS Patrick Chung, FS Devin McCourty, CB Malcolm Butler, and CB Eric Rowe received the starts and played all 62 defensive snaps. CB Logan Ryan (41, 65%) came off the bench, as did FS Duron Harmon (39, 62%). Rookie CB Cyrus Jones had one snap on defense.
The Patriots continued to rotate their entire defensive front seven
On the edge, ED Trey Flowers (48, 76%), ED Chris Long (44, 70%), and ED Rob Ninkovich (41, 65%) played in a healthy rotation as ED Jabaal Sheard was a healthy scratch. ED Geneo Grissom played one snap.
At defensive tackle, DT Alan Branch and DT Malcom Brown played 34 snaps (54%), while rookie DT Vincent Valentine made an impact in his 17 snaps (27%).
The linebacker position received the biggest change-up. LB Dont’a Hightower played 48 snaps (76%), which is a far cry from his normal iron man status. The Patriots rotated Hightower with LB Shea McClellin (36, 57%), LB Kyle Van Noy (29, 46%), LB Elandon Roberts (11, 17%), and LB Barkevious Mingo (10, 16%).
The following players saw 15+ snaps on special teams:
Nate Ebner (26), Shea McClellin (26), Geneo Grissom (24), Brandon Bolden (23), Brandon King (22), Jonathan Jones (22), Barkevious Mingo (22), Patrick Chung (17)