The New England Patriots ended 2018 on a high note thanks to a dominant victory over the visiting New York Jets. The team saw contributions from all 46 players on its game day roster on the way to winning 38-3 and locking up a first-round playoff bye. Let’s dig a little deeper into the snap count numbers from the Patriots’ 11th win of the season to get an impression of how they used their personnel.
Phillip Dorsett had an eventful day as the number three wide receiver
With Josh Gordon no longer part of the team and Cordarrelle Patterson out due to injury, the Patriots turned to Phillip Dorsett as their number three wideout. He saw plenty of action against the Jets: Dorsett was on the field for 57% of snaps (39 of 68) — his highest playing time share since week five. The 25-year old saw fewer snaps than Chris Hogan (64; 94%) and Julian Edelman (58; 85%) but was still effective and caught five passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise Jr. were the one-two punch at defensive end
Trey Flowers (42 of 56; 75%) and Deatrich Wise Jr. (31; 55%) served as the top two edge defenders on Sunday, and with Adrian Clayborn a healthy scratch once again. The rotation behind them consisted of John Simon (16; 29%) and Derek Rivers (16; 29%), with the latter registering his first career sack as a sub pass rusher. All in all, the Patriots did a good job of using all of their active players at the position.
New England went with its run-first defensive tackles
The usage of defensive tackles tells a lot about how the Patriots expect an opponent to attack. The Jets, for example, were seen as a run-first team: versatile Lawrence Guy (30 of 56; 54%) saw most of the action at the position with run stuffers Malcom Brown (26; 46%) and Danny Shelton (23; 41%) the next down the line. Interior pass rusher Adam Butler, meanwhile, was on the field for just 15 (27%) snaps.
James White led the running back rotation
The rotation New England uses at the running back position was on full display on Sunday: James White led the group with 27 snaps (of 68; 40%) with fullback James Develin being on the field for 26 (38%). Sony Michel, who touched the football 14 times, played 25 snaps (37%). Rex Burkhead, meanwhile, was on the field for 17 snaps (25%) as a versatile option out of the backfield to give White and Michel a breather.
The secondary saw some mixing and matching
With Devin McCourty leaving the game early in the third quarter, he was limited to just 50% of snaps (28 of 56). In his place, Duron Harmon saw an increased workload, being on the field for 40 defensive snaps — the 80% playing time share is his highest since week five. The safety group was not the only one in the secondary to see some movement: while cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (51; 91%) and J.C. Jackson (55; 98%) played their usual high number of snaps, Jason McCourty (27; 48%) was used more as a rotational player. Meanwhile, Keion Crossen (13; 23%) out-snapped Jonathan Jones (11; 20%).
Joe Thuney finishes the year without missing a snap
The Patriots’ left guard played all 68 snaps on Sunday and as a result finished the regular season a perfect 1,119 of 1,119 — the lone player on the team to go wire-to-wire this year. Fellow linemen Shaq Mason and Trent Brown also did not leave the field on Sunday, while center David Andrews (64; 94%) and right tackle Marcus Cannon (64; 94%) were pulled when the game was already decided. Tight ends Rob Gronkowski (55; 81%) and Dwayne Allen (26; 38%) also saw regular action.
Four players were on the field for 100% of snaps played
As noted above, three of the Patriots’ offensive linemen played 100% of the team’s snaps: Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason and Trent Brown. Meanwhile, Tom Brady and the rest of the offensive line were pulled after 64 snaps (of 68; 94%). On the defensive side, only safety Patrick Chung was on the field for all 56 snaps.
Welcome to the Pats Pulpit Live Postgame show! The Patriots finished the regular season strong and cruised to a win over the Jets today, clinching a first round playoff bye in the process. Send us your questions and comments!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, December 30, 2018