It seems like the New England Patriots are a team that plays to the level of their competition.
Last week, the Patriots allowed the Houston Texans to stick around in a game that they should have won easily. This week, they were the team that stuck around until a high powered Dallas Cowboys offense eventually pulled away in overtime. They weren’t supposed to win the game, but it didn’t make the loss hurt any less for New England as they fell to a 2-4 record for the second straight season.
The game looked odd from the beginning, with New England using multiple looks on both offense and defense as a result of performance and availability, making for some of the most eccentric snap count numbers you’re likely to see. How so? Let us take a look.
Total snaps: 54
QB Mac Jones (54; 100%), G Ted Karras (54; 100%), C David Andrews (54; 100%), G James Ferentz (54; 100%), OT Justin Herron (43; 83%), OL Michael Onwenu (43; 80%), TE Jonnu Smith (39; 72%), TE Hunter Henry (37; 69%), WR Jakobi Meyers (34; 63%), WR Nelson Agholor (32; 59%), RB Damien Harris (26; 48%), WR Kendrick Bourne (24; 46%), FB Jakob Johnson (22; 41%), WR N’Keal Harry (21; 39%), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (18; 33%), OT Yodny Cajuste (15; 28%), RB Brandon Bolden (11; 20%), OT Isaiah Wynn (9; 17%), WR Gunner Olszewski (1; 2%)
Once again, Mac Jones finished a game having played every offensive snap for the Patriots, his sixth time doing so this season. The unit tasked with protecting him? That’s a different story. While Ted Karras, David Andrews, and James Ferentz played every snap on the interior, Justin Herron, Michael Onwenu, Isaiah Wynn, and Yodny Cajuste played merry go round at the tackle spots before the team finally settled on Herron and Onwenu throughout the second half and overtime.
New England used a lot of 12 personnel, with both of their tight ends leading the skill group in snaps. Other than that it was more of the same in terms of pecking order. Jakobi Meyers led the way for the receivers while Damien Harris was the Patriot’s workhouse back.
Total snaps: 89
S Devin McCourty (89; 100%), CB J.C. Jackson (84; 94%), CB Jalen Mills (84; 94%), S Kyle Dugger (80; 90%), LB Matthew Judon (77; 87%), LB Kyle Van Noy (71; 80%), S Adrian Phillips (67; 75%), LB Dont’a Hightower (63; 71%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (57; 64%), DT Davon Godchaux (56; 63%), DT Christian Barmore (51; 57%), CB Jonathan Jones (44; 49%), DT Lawrence Guy (43; 48%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (40; 45%), DT Carl Davis (26; 29%), LB Josh Uche (26; 29%), LB Jamie Collins Sr. (17; 19%), CB Justin Bethel (4; 4%)
The Patriots defensive rotation stayed clear and concise. They deployed their “big nickel” package for the majority of the game once again, with the lone extended time out of it coming down at the goal line.
Christian Barmore continued his steady climb up the ranks, occupying the second defensive tackle role on more than 50% of New Englands snaps. Jamie Collins saw his playing time increase a bit with injuries to Ja’Whaun Bentley and Dont’a Hightower, while Chase Winovich’s injury on special teams kept him off the field on defense.
Josh Uche’s role has notably been reduced to that of a situational pass rusher, playing the third least snaps on the defense.
Total snaps: 28
CB Justin Bethel (25; 89%), WR Matthew Slater (25; 89%), LB Brandon King (25; 89%), S Cody Davis (24; 86%), RB Brandon Bolden (19; 68%), LB Harvey Langi (18; 64%), FB Jakob Johnson (16; 57%), WR Gunner Olszewski (14; 50%), P Jake Bailey (13; 46%), LB Jahlani Tavai (13; 46%), CB Jonathan Jones (10; 36%), LB Jamie Collins Sr. (10; 36%), S Adrian Phillips (9; 32%), DT Lawrence Guy (9; 32%), LB Chase Winovich (8; 29%), TE Hunter Henry (8; 29%), LS Joe Cardona (8; 29%), LB Matthew Judon (7; 25%), S Devin McCourty (6; 21%), LB Dont’a Hightower (6; 21%), DT Davon Godchaux (6; 21%), S Kyle Dugger (5; 18%), OT Justin Herron (3; 11%), OL Michael Onwenu (3; 11%), G Ted Karras (3; 11%), OT Isaiah Wynn (3; 11%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (3; 11%), OL Yasir Durant (3; 11%), K Nick Folk (3; 11%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (2; 7%), DT Christian Barmore (1; 4%)
Playing their guys on special teams, it’s what the Patriots do. New England rolled out 31 total players on their specialty units, beating their previous season high of 30 in the process.
13 of the 47 players to log a snap for New England on Sunday played more on special teams than offense or defense. Another season high.
Did Not Play
QB Brian Hoyer
Once again folks, this is good news for the Patriots. It’s the sixth straight game that Brian Hoyer is the only active Patriot to not see the field, a positive sign that means Mac Jones stayed healthy.
LB Ronnie Perkins, RB J.J. Taylor, TE Devin Asiasi, CB Shaun Wade, OG Shaq Mason , CB Joejuan Williams
LB Ronnie Perkins, TE Devin Asiasi, and CB Shaun Wade continued their stint on the inactive list, all having missed each of the Patriots six games. RB J.J Taylor joined them for his third inactive listing following a fumble in week three.
Starters Shaq Mason missed his second straight game with an abdomen injury, while cornerback Joejuan Williams returned to the inactive list following Jalen Mills’ return to the active game day roster.
Offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn and Michael Onwenu both made their returns from the Covid-19 list.