Jimmy Garoppolo (42 snaps of 80) barely outplayed Jacoby Brissett (38)
If we want to talk about the tempo of the game, Garoppolo was out of the game halfway through the second quarter, yet he played more in the first 1.5 quarters than Brissett did in the final 2.5 quarters. It shows the importance of a good offense, and I have to think the defense was getting tired in the second half.
LeGarrette Blount (51) was the workhorse, with James White (28) in relief
Blount played 64% of the snaps at running back, while rookie D.J. Foster chopped in 4 snaps of his own. The Patriots running backs combined for 83 snaps, which means there were a few snaps that involved multiple running backs on the field. Blount certainly earned his paycheck this week.
Chris Hogan (63) and Julian Edelman (63) are your starting wide receivers
Danny Amendola (19) is still working on a snap count, and it’s important to note that 16 of his snaps came in the first half. If we want to look at how or why the offense stalled, perhaps they’ll be better when Amendola is 100%. Rookie Malcolm Mitchell (31) and veteran Matthew Slater (14) also contributed.
Martellus Bennett (80) is an iron man
Bennett is one of four offensive plays to suit up for every snap, while fellow tight end Clay Harbor only participated in 22 snaps. James Develin (24) was slightly more involved, and both were extremely important in the Patriots final drive of the game.
There was a big offensive line rotation
RT Marcus Cannon, LG Joe Thuney, and C David Andrews all played 100% of the snaps. LT Nate Solder (65) and OT Cameron Fleming (16) rotated on a few drives, while Ted Karras (41) and Shaq Mason (39) split the right guard position. Mason played more this week than he did last week, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he played 75% of the snaps on Thursday against the Texans.
The Patriots replaced Dont’a Hightower with a rotation
Jamie Collins (65) was one of two defenders to play 100% of the snaps. Shea McClellin (39) and Jonathan Freeny (36) combined to take the other linebacker snaps, while Elandon Roberts (6) and Barkevious Mingo (5) played some as well.
The defensive line is playing a heavy 3-man rotation
On the edge, Chris Long (46), Jabaal Sheard (45), and Trey Flowers (37) rotated, while Malcom Brown (39), Alan Branch (37), and Vincent Valentine (17) rotated on the inside. The Patriots relied more on cornerbacks this game due to their lead, but Valentine made a lot of positive appearances in his short number of snaps.
The defensive backs were not iron men
It’s not strange to see four defensive backs with 100% of the snaps for the Patriots, but this wasn’t the case on Sunday. Devin McCourty (65) was the only 100% player. Malcolm Butler (64) led the cornerbacks and Justin Coleman (59) actually outsnapped Logan Ryan (57). Rookie Cyrus Jones (8) hasn’t played much and he didn’t have any special teams snaps, either.
Patrick Chung (57) was nicked up all game and the Patriots called on Duron Harmon (31) and Jordan Richards (2) to pick up the slack.
The following players played 10+ special teams snaps:
Barkevious Mingo (22), Jonathan Jones (22), Nate Ebner (21), Brandon Bolden (17), Brandon King (17), Clay Harbor (17), Matthew Slater (17), Duron Harmon (14), Jordan Richard (13), Stephen Gostkowski (12), Alan Branch (11), Ryan Allen (10), Joe Cardona (10)