Tom Brady returned to New England on Sunday night, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Foxborough and defeating his former team by a score of 19-17, in what will go down in history as an instant classic.
Despite falling to 1-3 on the season, the New England Patriots have plenty of good to take away from this game. For starters, their defensive game plan was rock solid, holding Brady and the Bucs to a season low 19-points. Their rookie quarterback went toe-to-toe with a legend, and nearly completed the comeback victory in just his fourth career start. And their fans, well, their fans got some closure, and are finally able to move on from their former quarterback.
With all of that good coming out of a loss, it’s a wonder what went into making this game so competitive. Who exactly was added/subtracted from the Patriots lineup to induce these successes and failures? Good question, let us stop waisting time and take a look at how the Patriots used their roster on Sunday night.
Total snaps: 59
QB Mac Jones (59; 100%), OL David Andrews (59; 100%), OL Isaiah Wynn (59; 100%), Shaq Mason (59; 100%), WR Jakobi Meyers (56; 95%), WR Nelson Agholor (43; 73%), TE Hunter Henry (40; 68%), OT Justin Herron (39; 66%), WR Kendrick Bourne (36; 61%), RB Damien Harris (36; 61%), OL Michael Onwenu (33; 56%), TE Jonnu Smith (28; 47%), OL Ted Karras (27; 46%), OL Yasir Durant (20; 34%), RB Brandon Bolden (19; 32%), WR Gunner Olszewski (16; 22%), FB Jakob Johnson (16; 27%), WR N’Keal Harry (15; 25%), RB J.J. Taylor (4; 7%), WR Matthew Slater (1; 2%)
Mac Jones, David Andrews, Isaiah Wynn, and Shaq Mason played every offensive snap once again, extending their streak to four consecutive games. Michael Onwenu, who was once a part of that streak, was benched in favor of Ted Karras following a pair of holding penalties in the first half. The rotation at right tackle continued, as Justin Herron and Yasir Durant each played more than 20 snaps.
Jones’ receiving corps shared the same pecking order as last week in terms of number of snaps. Jakobi Meyers was trailed closely by Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, with Gunner Olszewski and a season debuting N’Keal Harry bringing up the rear. His tight ends also shared a similar usage rate to last week with Hunter Henry getting 12 more snaps than Jonnu Smith the second game in a row.
Without James White, Brandon Bolden received his highest snap total of the season. Damien Harris also saw an uptick in snaps after his season low of 22 last week. J.J. Taylor played just four offensive snaps, none of which came after his fumble in the second quarter.
Total snaps: 78
S Devin McCourty (78; 100%), CB J.C. Jackson (78; 100%), CB Jalen Mills (78; 100%), LB Kyle Van Noy (75; 96%), LB Matt Judon (68; 87%), S Adrian Phillips (67; 86%), S Kyle Dugger (60; 77%), LB Dont’a Hightower (54; 69%), DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (54; 69%), CB Jon Jones (49; 63%), DT Christian Barmore (43; 55%), DT Davon Godchaux (43; 55%), DT Lawrence Guy (31; 40%), LB Josh Uche (31; 40%), DE Chase Winovich (22; 28%), DT Carl Davis (12; 15%), CB Myles Bryant (9; 12%), DL Henry Anderson (3; 4%), LB Harvey Langi (2; 3%), CB Justin Bethel (1; 1%) LB Jahlani Tavai (1; 1%)
New England’s big nickel package continued to shoulder a great deal of the overall number of snaps on Sunday night, with Devin McCourty, J.C. Jackson, Jalen Mills, Adrian Phillips, and Kyle Dugger all playing over 75% of total snaps. Jonathan Jones shadowed Antonio Brown, sharing a similar snap count to him, while Myles Bryant made his season debut in the defensive backfield.
Their linebacking corps shared a similar rotation to last week, with Kyle Van Noy and Matthew Judon playing the majority of the game while Dont’a Hightower’s role was focused on early downs where they tried to stop the run. Keeping with the norm, Josh Uche and Chase Winovich received the majority of their snaps on passing downs.
Deatrich Wise Jr. once again led the defensive line in snaps played, while rookie Christian Barmore came in a close second, leading all interior players with 55% of snaps played. He shared that distinction with Davon Godchaux while Lawrence Guy’s numbers slipped ever so slightly in a game where they focused on getting pressure up the middle.
Total snaps: 30
ST Matthew Slater (25; 86%), ST Justin Bethel (25; 86%), ST Brandon King (25; 86%), ST Cody Davis (22; 76%), RB Brandon Bolden (20; 69%), DE Chase Winovich (19; 66%), LB Harvey Langi (19; 66%), WR Gunner Olszewski (14; 48%), FB Jakob Johnson (14; 48%), CB Jonathan Jones (13; 45%), P Jake Bailey (13; 45%), S Adrian Phillips (13; 45%), LB Jahlani Tavai (11; 38%), LB Matt Judon (10; 34%), DT Lawrence Guy (10; 34%), LS Joe Cardona (9; 31%), LB Dont’a Hightower (6; 21%), DT Davon Godchaux (6; 21%) S Devin McCourty (6; 21%), K Nick Folk (4; 14%) DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (4; 14%), OL Isaiah Wynn (4; 14%), OL Shaq Mason (4; 14%), OL Michael Onwenu (4; 14%), OL Yasir Durant (4; 14%), OL Justin Herron (4; 14%) OL Ted Karras (4; 14%), DL Henry Anderson (3; 10%), RB J.J. Taylor (2; 7%), WR Kendrick Bourne (1; 3%), DB Myles Bryant (1; 3%)
The Patriots shared a very similar special teams setup to last week. Chase Winovich saw a notable increase in percentage of snaps played while David Andrews fell off of the list completely.
Did not play
QB Brian Hoyer
Another week. Another game where Brian Hoyer is the only active Patriot to not see the field. As you can imagine this is good news, as teams never want their backup quarterback to see the field. It’s also a positive sign that New England was able to utilize the rest of their roster, making for zero wasted spots.
LB Ronnie Perkins, RB Rhamondre Stevenson, TE Devin Asiasi, OT Trent Brown, CB Shaun Wade, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, CB Joejuan Williams
Save for Ja’Whaun Bentley and Joejuan Williams replacing Josh Uche, this was the same inactive group as last week.
LB Ja’Whaun Bentley missed the game with a shoulder ailment while OT Trent Brown missed his third straight game with a calf injury. CB Joejuan Williams joined Devin Asiasi and rookies Rhamondre Stevenson, Ronnie Perkins, and Shaun Wade, as healthy scratches.