LG Joe Thuney missed a snap
While LT Nate Solder, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, and RT Marcus Cannon played all 69 snaps, there was one single snap where Thuney came off the field and Ted Karras came on the field. OT Cameron Fleming was an additional block on two snaps. QB Tom Brady played every snap, too.
TE Martellus Bennett looked like he suffered serious injury, almost played every snap
Despite writhing on the ground in pain, Bennett managed to play 64 snaps (93%) and lead all the skill position players. He left the field and came right back. WR Julian Edelman (58, 84%), WR Michael Floyd (44, 64%), and WR Chris Hogan (34, 49%) were the next most-involved players, ahead of all the running backs. WR Danny Amendola (21, 30%), TE Matt Lengel (14, 20%), and WR Matthew Slater (3, 4%) were all less involved.
RB James White phased out of the offensive game plan
FB James Develin led all backs with 33 snaps (48%), tied with RB Dion Lewis (33, 48%). RB LeGarrette Blount (27, 39%) was next. But it was interesting that RB James White 12, 17%) was not a huge part of the Patriots strategy, apart from his key touchdown grab. The Patriots really wanted Lewis’ and Blount’s ability to run the ball if the Texans showed any holes.
The Patriots defensive line rotation is fully operational
On the edge, Trey Flowers (59, 86%) played one of the most involved games in his young career, ahead of Rob Ninkovich (38, 55%), Jabaal Sheard (31, 45%), and Chris Long (27, 39%). Geneo Grissom even had 1 snaps of his own.
Alan Branch led the defensive tackles with 49 snaps (71%), ahead of Malcom Brown (38, 55%) and Vincent Valentine (16, 23%). The Patriots are definitely giving their best players more snaps in the playoffs.
LB Shea McClellin played a reserve role
LB Dont’a Hightower (69, 100%) led the way after overcoming his knee injury, while LB Elandon Roberts (36, 52%) and LB Kyle Van Noy (32, 46%) split time as the run stuffer and the pass defender. LB Shea McClellin (7, 10%) played a much more reserved role this week than in weeks past.
The Patriots relied on three-safety coverage
FS Devin McCourty (69, 100%), and SS Patrick Chung (62, 90%) led the way, with FS Duron Harmon (48, 70%) also seeing heavy snaps. CB Logan Ryan (69, 100%) and CB Malcolm Butler (69, 100%) were ironmen, while CB Eric Rowe (39, 57%) played fewer snaps than Harmon. The Patriots had their secondary players and stuck to them.
The following played 15+ snaps on special teams:
Shea McClellin (30), Nate Ebner (26), Geneo Grissom (25), Jonathan Jones (25), Patrick Chung (23), Matthew Slater (22), Brandon King (22), Brandon Bolden (22), Barkevious Mingo (17)