The football world called Sunday’s matinee in Foxborough a “get-right” game for the New England Patriots. On the second day of the new year, they got right with a 50-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Just about everything went right for New England as they quickly ran away from the Jaguars and turned the game into an early laugher. Scoring on eight of their nine full possessions, the offense moved the ball with ease against a depleted Jacksonville defense. Against Trevor Lawrence and the Jags offense, New England forced three turnovers and allowed just three points before having their regular contributors pulled. The win, partnered with a Miami Dolphins loss officially secured a playoff spot for the Patriots; their first in two seasons.
The talent difference between these two teams partnered with the way that New England dominated throughout the game certainly lead to some interesting notes in terms of playing time. In the penultimate game of the regular season, the Patriots saw contributions from practice squadders and gifted increased roles to rotation players. Here is the story on each one of those played into the result of the game.
Total snaps: 72
OT Trent Brown (72; 100%), WR Kristian Wilkerson (60; 83%), Mac Jones (59; 82%), C David Andrews (59; 82%), OT Isaiah Wynn (59; 82%), G Shaq Mason (59; 82%), WR Jakobi Meyers (56; 78%), G Ted Karras (55; 76%), WR Kendrick Bourne (43; 60%), TE Jonnu Smith (42; 58%), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (40, 56%), TE Hunter Henry (39; 54%), OT Michael Onwenu (36; 50%), FB Jakob Johnson (25; 35%), RB Brandon Bolden (18; 25%), RB Damien Harris (16; 22%), WR Gunner Olszewski (14; 19%), OL Justin Herron (13, 18%), QB Brian Hoyer (13, 18%), OL Yasir Durant (13, 18%), WR Matthew Slater (1, 1%)
Similarly to the way things unfolded in Week 7 against the New York Jets, the Patriots dismantled their opponent on Sunday, leading to a game book full of names that we are not used to seeing.
Up front New England stayed with its top offensive line unit throughout quarterback Mac Jones’ time on the field. Once Jones was pulled for backup Brian Hoyer, reserve linemen Justin Herron, Yasir Durant, and Michael Onwenu came in to finished the job. Onwenu outpaced Herron and Durant due to his role as the teams jumbo tight end. With the game in hand early on, New England leaned on rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson and veteran Brandon Bolden while Damien Harris got to rest his injured hamstring after turning in 35 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 snaps.
In Week 16, N’Keal Harry led the Patriots skill group in playing time as he took over Nelson Agholor’s lost reps while also playing his usual role in the run game. In Week 17, he was a healthy scratch and that same role was given to Kristian Wilkerson, who was second on the offense with 60 snaps played. He was followed closely behind by Jakobi Meyers who has become Mac Jones’ most reliable target. Kendrick Bourne, Jonnu Smith, and Hunter Henry all played their usual roles while Gunner Olszewski got an extended look in the blowout.
Total snaps: 47
CB Jalen Mills (47; 100%), S Devin McCourty (46; 98%), DB Myles Bryant (40; 85%), LB Kyle Van Noy (39; 83%), CB J.C. Jackson (39; 83%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (36; 77%), S Adrian Phillips (33; 70%), S Kyle Dugger (24; 51%), DT Christian Barmore (23; 49%), DT Daniel Ekuale (22; 47%), LB Chase Winovich (21; 45%), DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (20; 43%), LB Josh Uche (19; 40%), DT Lawrence Guy (17; 36%), DT Davon Godchaux (16; 34%), LB Dont’a Hightower (14; 30%), DT Carl Davis (14; 30%), LB Jahlani Tavai (12, 26%), LB Matthew Judon (10; 21%), CB D’Angelo Ross (9, 19%), CB Justin Bethel (8, 17%), LB Jamie Collins (8; 17%),
Despite the blowout victory, New England’s defensive snap percentages where about what you would expect if you’ve been paying attention over the past few weeks. The top secondary unit outpaced most of the linebackers and defensive line who all rotated in and out of the game depending on situation. There where a few surprises however.
Coming off of Covid-19 reserve, Matthew Judon played just 10 snaps, a 63% decrease from the week prior. Jamie Collins played just eight snaps a week after putting in 37 against Buffalo, and practice squad defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale outpaced both Lawrence Guy and Davon Godchaux in his elevation. Many of New England’s core defenders are veterans, which could help explain the low numbers, but it will be something to monitor once the playoffs role around.
Total snaps: 27
WR Matthew Slater (19; 70%), S Cody Davis (19; 70%), CB Justin Bethel (18; 67%), P Jake Bailey (18; 67%), RB Brandon Bolden (17; 63%), WR Gunner Olszewski (16; 59%), LB Jahlani Tavai (16; 59%), LB Brandon King (15; 56%), LB Chase Winovich (14; 52%), CB D’Angelo Ross (13, 48%), DT Lawrence Guy (12; 44%), S Adrian Phillips (11; 41%), FB Jakob Johnson (10; 37%), LS Joe Cardona (9; 33%), K Nick Folk (8; 30%), OT Trent Brown (8; 30%), OT Isaiah Wynn (8; 30%), OT Justin Herron (8; 30%), G Shaq Mason (8; 30%), G Ted Karras (8; 30%), OL Michael Onwenu (8; 30%), LB Jamie Collins (7; 26%), WR Kristian Wilkerson (4; 15%), DT Davon Godchaux (4, 15%), TE Hunter Henry (3; 11%), S Kyle Dugger (3; 11%), DB Myles Bryant (2; 7%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (2, 7%), DT Christian Barmore (2; 7%), DT Daniel Ekuale (2; 7%), LB Dont’a Hightower (2; 7%), WR Jakobi Meyers (1, 4%), WR Kendrick Bourne (1, 4%), S Devin McCourty (1, 4%)
New England deployed 34 different players on special teams Sunday, a five player increase from the week before. Though things weren't perfect for the unit as a whole, they had multiple newcomers contribute on the unit as a whole.
Did Not Play
Believe it or not, the Patriots felt comfortable enough to empty their bench in a 40 point victory. Brian Hoyer played the majority of the fourth quarter in place of Mac Jones while other reserve players like Yasir Durant and Justin Herron got some snaps on offense and special teams.
WR Nelson Agholor, WR N’Keal Harry, RB J.J. Taylor, CB Shaun Wade, QB Jarrett Stidham, TE Devin Asiasi, CB Joejuan Williams
Covid-19 List: OL Yodny Cajuste
The most glaring inactive on New England’s side was reserve wide receiver N’Keal Harry being passed over for practice squad receiver Kristian Wilkerson. The move paid dividends as Wilkerson notched a pair of touchdown receptions in his newfound role.
Stidham, Asiasi, and Taylor weren’t surprises, but JoeJuan Williams and Shaun Wade being passed over for practice squad corner D’Angelo Ross for the second straight week may be categorized as such. Nelson Agholor also missed his second straight game with a concussion.