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Week 3 snap counts: Patriots clearly challenged the Texans to try and run the ball

And the Patriots stuffed them.

Here’s our takeaway from the snap usage of the New England Patriots in their 27-0 victory over the Houston Texans

Jacoby Brissett didn’t give any quarterback snaps to Julian Edelman

Brissett played all 64 snaps at quarterback. I, personally, expected Edelman to get one or two trick plays to keep the Texans off guard, but I guess an early lead never forced the Patriots into a desperation move.

Shaq Mason is back as the full time starter

The Patriots played one offensive line all game and, to be honest, it was probably the best line performance I’ve seen since early 2013. LT Nate Solder, LG Joe Thuney, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, and RT Marcus Cannon were pretty lights out on the day in pass protection and the left side of the line continued their dominance in the run game away from J.J. Watt. Cameron Fleming added 15 snaps as an extra blocker.

Martellus Bennett (63 snaps, 98%) continues to be a huge part of the offense

Honestly, even if Bennett doesn’t do anything else for the rest of the year, he’s already matched the 4th round trade pick it cost to acquire him from the Bears. He’s been such an important blocker and just the threat of his receiving ability kept the Texans pass rush in check. James Develin (24, 38%), Rob Gronkowski (14, 22%), and Clay Harbor (3, 5%) were all smaller parts of the blocking scheme.

Chris Hogan (57, 89%) is your leading receiver

Now I think it’s a rotation, but Hogan outsnapped Julian Edelman (48, 75%) by a fair amount. It’s possible Edelman was just resting, though. Malcolm Mitchell (17, 27%) continues to get his feet wet, while Danny Amendola (13, 20%) is always clutch in a minor role.

It was the LeGarrette Blount Show (46, 72%)

I don’t know when he get concerned about Blount’s usage, but he’s been a total rock for the Patriots this year. James White (16, 25%) had a minor role and hasn’t had to do much on offense this year.

The Patriots played nickel and dime defense almost the entire game

Want to know why the Texans appeared to have some success running the ball early? The Patriots wanted them to run the ball. Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, and Malcolm Butler all played 100% of the snaps (71), while Duron Harmon (69, 97%) and Patrick Chung (68, 96%) were rarely off the field. Rookie Cyrus Jones chipped in 33 snaps (46%) on defense, too.

Jamie Collins must have been lonely at linebacker

Collins (71, 100%) didn’t have Dont’a Hightower and spend a good chunk of the game as the only linebacker on the field. Jonathan Freeny (41, 58%) and Shea McClellin (25, 35%) were not huge parts of the game plan, especially once the Patriots had a sizeable lead.

The pass rush rotation is strong

Chris Long (55, 77%), Jabaal Sheard (53, 75%), and Trey Flowers (43, 61%) put forth high energy games, while Alan Branch (36, 51%), Malcom Brown (31, 44%), Anthony Johnson (23, 32%), and Vincent Valentine (20, 28%) had smaller, but still effective, roles. Valentine continues to impress with his strength in limited snaps.

These players played more than 10 snaps on special teams:

LB Barkevious Mingo (21), CB Jonathan Jones (21), S Brandon King (20), S Nate Ebner (20), WR Matthew Slater (20), RB Brandon Bolden (20), TE Clay Harbor (15), LS Joe Cardona (13), P Ryan Allen (13), S Jordan Richards (12), S Duron Harmon (12), DT Alan Branch (11), CB Justin Coleman (11), K Stephen Gostkowski (11)