Below are snap counts on offense and defense for the Patriots in their Week 5 game against the Bucs.
Analysis: How did the Patriots offense look without Rob Gronkowski? Well, as you’d expect Dwayne Allen did play a season-high 50 snaps. However, Allen wasn’t targeted at all in this one, and still doesn’t have a catch on the season through five games.
So how did the Patriots replace Gronkowski in the passing game? Mainly by giving more playing time to their third and fourth wide receivers, Danny Amendola and Phillip Dorsett.
Amendola played a season-high 55 snaps and has seen his workload increase in each of the last three weeks since missing Week 2 with an injury. Oh, and Amendola is freaking awesome. Tallying eight receptions on eight targets for 77 yards, and five first downs.
As for for Dorsett, he played more snaps in Week 5 than in the previous two weeks combined (16).
The Patriots offense was held to under 27 points for the first time this season, and you can attribute most of that to the absence of Gronkowski, but their depth at wide receiver helped them at least survive on a short week without #87.
Analysis: Defensively, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung set the tone, and they played every single snap when the Bucs offense was on the field.
McCourty played a vintage Devin McCourty game covering things up on the back end, and saving a touchdown on DeSean Jackson’s long catch and run.
Dont’a Hightower’s usage also brings more good news on defense after a bounce-back performance, as the Patriots’ leader in the front seven saw a huge uptick in snaps in his second game back from injury.
Hightower played 62 snaps against the Bucs after logging only 37 versus Carolina a week ago. The Patriots need their hard-hitting tone setter to get back to his typically elite form.
Finally, the Patriots made DT Alan Branch a surprise inactive when he didn’t make the trip to Tampa, and they spread his snaps around to a few different players.
Adam Butler did take on some of those snaps vacated by Branch, but the Patriots mainly went lighter with Cassius Marsh logging 50 snaps after playing just 18 a week ago. Who really knows what the Patriots see in Marsh, but he continues to see the field on defense.
(h/t Pro Football Focus: https://www.profootballfocus.com/products/elite#edge)