Five games into the 2019 regular season, the New England Patriots have yet to taste defeat: on Sunday, the team went on to road to defeat the Washington Redskins with a final score of 33-7. The defense was once again lights-out, the offense got into a groove during the second half of the game, and special teams also had some good moments. With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper into the snap count numbers from the game to get an impression of how the Patriots used their players.
Total snaps: 78
OC Ted Karras (78; 100%), OG Shaq Mason (78; 100%), OT Marcus Cannon (78; 100%), OG Joe Thuney (78; 100%), OT Marshall Newhouse (78; 100%), TE Matt LaCosse (73; 94%), QB Tom Brady (72; 92%), WR Julian Edelman (72; 92%), WR Josh Gordon (67; 86%), RB Sony Michel (38; 49%), WR Jakobi Meyers (36; 46%), FB Jakob Johnson (32; 41%), RB James White (31; 40%), TE Ryan Izzo (20; 26%), RB Brandon Bolden (11; 14%), WR Gunner Olszewski (6; 8%), QB Jarrett Stidham (6; 8%), WR Phillip Dorsett II (4; 5%)
The Patriots offense saw a lot of action against Washington, with the unit being on the field for a total of 78 snaps — 41 of which coming in the first half, which was later mentioned by quarterback Tom Brady as an important factor in getting the running game going in the third and fourth quarters. In total, five players were on the field for all 78 of those snaps with the starting offensive line going wire-to-wire.
Brady, meanwhile, was pulled from the game in the fourth quarter after a solid performance during which he completed 28 of 42 pass attempts for 348 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. Jarrett Stidham entered the contest in his place, but attempted only one pass in six snaps. Nevertheless, the rookie did get another taste of the NFL after his last one — Week 3 against the New York Jets — ended with him getting benched again after a pick-six.
What stands out when looking at the snap counts is that both tight ends, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo, saw considerable action on Sunday: LaCosse led all skill position players with 73 snaps; Izzo was on the field for 20. This is noteworthy considering that the Patriots were using their tight ends rather irregularly during the first quarter of the season. Against Washington, however, both played a big role in the passing game — LaCosse had one 22-yard catch, Izzo two for 39 and a touchdown — and a rejuvenated rushing attack.
Total snaps: 59
FS Devin McCourty (53; 90%), LB Dont’a Hightower (53; 90%), CB Stephon Gilmore (51; 86%), FS Duron Harmon (48; 81%), CB Jason McCourty (47; 80%), CB Jonathan Jones (45; 76%), CB J.C. Jackson (44; 75%), LB Kyle Van Noy (44; 75%), LB Jamie Collins Sr. (41; 69%), DT Adam Butler (37; 63%), DT Danny Shelton (29; 49%), DT Lawrence Guy (27; 46%), SS Terrence Brooks (22; 37%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (18; 31%), DE Chase Winovich (17; 29%), DE Michael Bennett (15; 25%), DE Shilique Calhoun (14; 24%), LB Elandon Roberts (14; 24%), DE John Simon (12; 20%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (10; 17%), CB Joejuan Williams (8; 14%)
As opposed to last week’s game in Buffalo, the Patriots defense again had a rather light workload: the unit was on the field for just 59 snaps, with no player being on the field for more than 53 — team captains Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower led the group in playing time. Meanwhile, the rest of the defense saw more of a rotational approach, with the starters in the secondary and at linebacker getting fewer snaps than usual.
With Patrick Chung out because of a heel injury, New England turned to Duron Harmon: the veteran played 48 snaps, with his playing time share of 81% being his highest of the season. Meanwhile, core special teamer Terrence Brooks also saw an increased workload on defense and played 22 snaps in a secondary that was once more shutting down the opposing passing attack.
Meanwhile, the defensive end rotation also was in full swing. With the linebackers — especially Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy — regularly coming down to play on the edge as well, no player at the position was on the field for more than 18 snaps (Deatrich Wise Jr.). One name that stands out is Michael Bennett: the offseason trade acquisition continues to see limited playing time, but still makes an impact whenever he is on the field.
Total snaps: 33
RB Brandon Bolden (26; 79%), DE Shilique Calhoun (26; 79%), WR Matthew Slater (26; 79%), SS Jordan Richards (26; 79%), CB Jonathan Jones (24; 73%), SS Terrence Brooks (24; 73%), P Jake Bailey (20; 61%), WR Gunner Olszewski (17; 52%), DE Chase Winovich (17; 52%), LB Jamie Collins Sr. (15; 45%), LS Joe Cardona (13; 39%), CB J.C. Jackson (11; 33%), LB Elandon Roberts (11; 33%), FB Jakob Johnson (10; 30%), DE John Simon (10; 30%), DT Lawrence Guy (9; 27%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (9; 27%), FS Devin McCourty (8; 24%), CB Joejuan Williams (8; 24%), DT Danny Shelton (7; 21%), OC Ted Karras (6; 18%), OG Shaq Mason (6; 18%), OT Marcus Cannon (6; 18%), K Mike Nugent (6; 18%), OC James Ferentz (6; 18%), OG Joe Thuney (5; 15%), CB Jason McCourty (3; 9%), DT Adam Butler (3; 9%), RB James White (2; 6%), LB Dont’a Hightower (2; 6%), OT Marshall Newhouse (1; 3%)
31 members of the Patriots’ 46-man game day roster were used on special teams against the Redskins, with six of them playing exclusively in the kicking game: the three specialists — kicker Mike Nugent, punter/kickoff specialist Jake Bailey, long snapper Joe Cardona — as well as backup interior offensive lineman James Ferentz, and coverage players Matthew Slater and Jordan Richards.
Richards, of course, was just re-signed last week and playing in his first game back with the team after a one-year hiatus. As expected, he did not see any action on defense but played a prominent role on special teams: not only was he tied for the team-lead in kicking game snaps, he also registered New England’s lone tackle in the third phase of the game.
Did not play
OG Jermaine Eluemunor
With Jarrett Stidham being inserted into the game in the fourth quarter and with the Patriots already up 33-7, only one player did not see the field against Washington: backup interior offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor had to spend the entire 60 minutes on the bench, not even seeing action on special teams. Given the state of New England’s offensive line, however, this can be seen as a good thing.
SS Patrick Chung, RB Rex Burkhead, SS Nate Ebner, RB Damien Harris, OT Korey Cunningham, DT Byron Cowart, QB Cody Kessler
The Patriots already declared three players out before officially releasing the inactives list 90 minutes before kickoff — all of which originally were listed as “questionable” on Friday’s final injury report: running back Rex Burkhead is dealing with a foot injury, while safeties Patrick Chung and Nate Ebner are rehabbing from heel and groin injuries, respectively. The other four inactives were all healthy scratches.