The New England Patriots just grabbed their most impressive win of the season.
Facing off with a Cleveland Browns team that entered the matchup sporting the same 5-4 record, the Patriots put together a complete game involving all three phases of the game. New England’s defense allowed just seven points, and a 20% conversion rate on third and fourth down. Their offense punted just once, scoring on 7 of their 9 offensive drives, and the special teams units played mistake free football when they were actually given a chance to hit the field.
Perhaps more importantly than everything else, New England left the game relatively healthy and saw a few young players capitalize on the opportunities they were given. Let’s dive into what this opportunities were, shall we?
Total snaps: 67
G Ted Karras (67; 100%), C David Andrews (67; 100%), G Shaq Mason (65; 97%), OT Isaiah Wynn (58; 87%), Mac Jones (58; 87%), TE Hunter Henry (55; 82%), WR Jakobi Meyers (48; 72%), WR Nelson Agholor (47; 70%), OT Trent Brown (46; 69%), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (37; 55%), WR N’Keal Harry (35; 52%), WR Kendrick Bourne (29; 43%), OT Michael Onwenu (26; 39%), FB Jakob Johnson (25; 37%), RB Brandon Bolden (18; 27%), RB J.J. Taylor (13; 19%), TE Devin Asiasi (12; 18%), OT Justin Herron (9; 13%), TE Matt LaCosse (9; 13%), QB Brian Hoyer (9; 13%), WR Matthew Slater (2; 3%), OT Yodny Cajuste (2; 3%)
Though the blowout victory contributed to a different order of operations than we’re used to seeing, the Patriots certainly did stray away from the formula that they have been using over the past couple of weeks.
First and foremost, Trent Brown (69% of snaps played) returned to his spot as starting right tackle, and with that came a demotion of sorts for Michael Onwenu, who played a season low 39% of offensive snaps while rotating with Brown and serving as a blocking tight end. Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson got a career high in snaps (37) and touches (24) due to the absence of Damien Harris, while N’Keal Harry played a season high 52% of snaps, leapfrogging Kendrick Bourne in the pecking order with New England emphasizing the run game early.
Two Patriots saw their season debut on offense, as tight ends Devin Asiasi (18%) and Matt LaCosse (13%) both got to see some action during the blowout victory. They were joined by the likes of J.J. Taylor (19%), Justin Herron (13%), Brian Hoyer (13%), Matthew Slater (3%), and Yodny Cajuste (3%), all of whom saw some rare action on offense due to the nature of the game.
Total snaps: 60
S Devin McCourty (53; 90%), S Adrian Phillips (46; 78%), CB J.C. Jackson (46; 78%), DT Christian Barmore (45; 76%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (45; 76%), S Kyle Dugger (43; 73%), CB Jalen Mills (40; 68%), LB Matthew Judon (39; 66%), LB Dont’a Hightower (37, 63%), LB Kyle Van Noy (37; 63%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (36; 61%), DT Davon Godchaux (33; 56%), DB Myles Bryant (32; 54%), CB Joejuan Williams (28; 47%), DT Lawrence Guy (23; 39%), DT Carl Davis (18; 31%), DL Tashawn Bower (17; 29%), LB Josh Uche (13; 22%), CB Justin Bethel (6; 10%), LB Calvin Munson (6; 10%), LB Jahlani Tavai (6; 10%)
The offense and defense swapped places this week in terms of how predictable they would be with their rotations. The offense usually sticks to a tight script, but changed some things up against the Browns, whereas the defense that is usually very unpredictable due to their scheme, saw little change from last weeks game against the Carolina Panthers.
Devin McCourty led the unit in snap percentage with 90%, while being closely followed by the rest of his top defensive back unit —Adrian Phillips, J.C. Jackson, Kyle Dugger, and Jalen Mills— all of whom played more than 68% of snaps. Christian Barmore continues his ascent as the top defensive lineman with 76% of snaps played, while Josh Uche continues to fall; playing four less snaps than practice squad call-up Tashawn Bower.
There were a few new things that jumped out as well. Matthew Judon’s snap percentage fell from 90% last week to 66% this week as the emphasis fell on playing the inside run game, and the score got out of control in a hurry. Carl Davis (31%) and Lawrence Guy (39%) are looking more and more like role players, while Davon Godchaux (56%) finds himself as Christian Barmore’s number two.
Total snaps: 25
WR Matthew Slater (16; 70%), S Cody Davis (16; 70%), LB Brandon King (16; 70%), CB Justin Bethel (16; 70%), LB Calvin Munson (15; 65%), P Jake Bailey (14; 61%), CB Joejuan Williams (13; 57%), LB Jahlani Tavai (12; 52%), S Kyle Dugger (10; 43%), S Adrian Phillips (10; 43%), FB Jakob Johnson (10; 43%), RB Brandon Bolden (10; 43%), DT Lawrence Guy (10; 43%), K Nick Folk (9; 39%), LS Joe Cardona (8; 35%), OL Michael Onwenu (7; 30%), G Ted Karras (7; 30%), OT Isaiah Wynn (7; 30%), Shaq Mason (7; 30%), DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (7; 30%), LB Josh Uche (7; 30%), OT Trent Brown (6; 26%), LB Matthew Judon (5; 22%), WR Jakobi Meyers (4; 17%), LB Dont’a Hightower (2; 9%), RB J.J. Taylor (1; 4%), OT Justin Herron (1; 4%), TE Matt Lacosse (1; 4%), TE Hunter Henry (1; 4%), DT Christian Barmore (1; 4%), CB J.C. Jackson (1; 4%), DB Myles Bryant (1; 4%), DT Davon Godchaux (1; 4%),
Ladies and gentlemen, I derive no pleasure from informing you that the streak has died.
After rolling out a new season high in special teamers each of the last four weeks, New England saw their special teams units produce a measly 33 players, one short of their season high from one week ago. Let us not dwell on this, and look forward to Thursday night where we can see the start of a new streak.
Did Not Play
As is the case in games where you thoroughly dominate your opponent, the Patriots emptied their bench in this one. Yes, that even includes Brian Hoyer who threw Jakobi Meyers his first career touchdown reception.
RB Damien Harris, WR Gunner Olszewski, TE Jonnu Smith, LB Ronnie Perkins, CB Shaun Wade, OL Yasir Durant, QB Jarrett Stidham,
The Patriots entered this game having had three players spend the entire week in concussion protocol. Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson was the only one to be cleared in time to be active on Sunday, as Damien Harris and Gunner Olszewski sat this one out. They were joined by veteran tight end Jonnu Smith, who was held out with a shoulder injury.
Quarterback Jarrett Stidham, linebacker Ronnie Perkins, cornerback Shaun Wade, and offensive lineman Yasir Durant were all healthy scratches.
Tackle Trent Brown, running back J.J. Taylor, and wide receiver N’Keal Harry, all returned to the Patriots lineup, while tight ends Devin Asias and Matt LaCosse made their season debut’s.