The New England Patriots won their first football game of the season 17-14 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The contest saw a lot of different players see considerable action between the different personnel used and a handful of injuries that led to guys rotating in and out of the lineup.
Let’s take a look at the snap breakdown.
Total snaps: 68
QB Mac Jones* (68; 100%), LT Trent Brown* (68; 100%), LG Cole Strange* (68; 100%), C David Andrews* (68; 100%), RG Michael Onwenu* (68; 100%), RT Isaiah Wynn* (68; 100%), WR Jakobi Meyers* (56; 82%), WR DeVante Parker* (52; 76%), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (42; 62%), TE Jonnu Smith (39; 57%), TE Hunter Henry* (34; 50%), WR Nelson Agholor (34; 50%), RB Damien Harris* (27; 40%), WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey* (26; 38%), WR Kendrick Bourne (24; 35%), RB Pierre Strong Jr. (3; 4%), WR Matthew Slater (3; 4%)
The Patriots offense only scored 17 points in this one, but the unit looked much better overall. It was on the field for 68 snaps and had a really nice drive at the end of the game to prevent the Steelers from ever touching the ball again that consisted of 13 plays that chewed 6 minutes and 33 seconds of clock.
Mac Jones and the entire offensive line played all 68 possible snaps. In the Miami heat last week we saw some rotations that allowed Isaiah Wynn and Cole Strange to get rest in the middle of the game; they scrapped that game plan this week.
The wide receivers had an interesting snap breakdown as Jakobi Meyers and DeVante Parker each saw over 75 percent of the snaps. Meyers caught nine balls for 95 yards, while Parker failed to record a catch. Nelson Agholor played just 50 percent of the snaps, but he had a monster day delivering 6 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Lil’Jordan Humphrey drew the start in this game, and we saw him on the field for 26 snaps; he was a run blocker on a majority of them.
Kendrick Bourne, meanwhile, registered 24 snaps compared to just his two last week. This is a big development for him and the offense as a whole: the unit benefits from his energy and play-making when he is on the field. He finished with a pair of catches for 16 yards.
Rhamondre Stevenson out-snapped Damien Harris 42 to 27, as he saw the field for most of the passing-down work. The two backs both ran the ball well and had some nice blitz pickups in pass coverage.
The tight ends failed to produce a catch in this game as the Patriots veered away from the two-tight end sets that dominated the game in Miami last Sunday. This meant that Jonnu Smith was on the field for 39 snaps and Hunter. Henry for 34. This will be something to keep an eye on going forward as this is the second straight week of limited tight end production.
Total snaps: 59
S Devin McCourty* (59; 100%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr.* (53; 90%), S Adrian Phillips* (51; 86%), CB Jalen Mills* (51; 86%), CB Myles Bryant (49; 83%), LB Matthew Judon* (48; 81%), CB Jonathan Jones* (45; 76%), LB Mack Wilson Sr.* (38; 64%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley* (36; 61%), DT Christian Barmore (35; 59%), DT Lawrence Guy Sr.* (29; 49%), DT Davon Godchaux* (26; 44%), CB Jack Jones (22; 37%), LB Josh Uche (20; 34%), S Kyle Dugger* (19; 32%), S Jabrill Peppers (17; 29%), LB Jahlani Tavai (14; 24%), DT Carl Davis Jr. (14; 24%), LB Raekwon McMillan (12; 20%), LB Anfernee Jennings (10; 17%)
Defensively, we saw some players get increased reps as some of the Patriots starters got banged up throughout the game. Davon Godchaux and Kyle Dugger both started the game but went down injured, while Ja’Whaun Bentley was also on and off the field due to a back issue.
The leader of this defense in more ways than one, Devin McCourty played every defensive snap yet again. Adrian Phillips was the other safety who played most of the game as he was in on 86 percent of the plays — despite being on the injury report last week. Dugger logged 19 snaps before his knee injury, leading to Jabrill Peppers getting some more work. The first-year Patriot made some big plays despite being on the field for just 17 snaps.
The defensive line rotated a lot this week and it worked out well as Pittsburgh could not get anything going besides its one touchdown drive. Deatrich Wise Jr. played 53 of the 59 snaps, and the next closest was Christian Barmore at 35. Barmore saw some double teams that gave some pass rushers one-on-one opportunities. Lawrence Guy played 29 snaps and clogged up holes in the run game, as Godchaux could only go 26. Carl Davis also was in there for 14 after a rough Week 1 outing.
The linebacker personnel looked different this week as we saw some new players with bigger roles. Matthew Judon was on the field 81 percent of the time getting after the quarterback and making a huge play in pass coverage in the second half. Mack Wilson drew the start and got 36 snaps which led to him tipping a pass that resulted in an interception.
The aforementioned Bentley was banged up but able to match Wilson with 36 plays of his own. Josh Uche got 20 as a sub-pass rusher, while Jahlani Tavai had 14 and registered his first sack since 2019. Raekwon McMillan’s role was significantly decreased after Week 1 as he saw just 20 percent of the plays. Anfernee Jennings was active for the first time this season and was out there for 10 snaps.
No real surprises in terms of the cornerback breakdown other than Myles Bryant out-snapping Jonathan Jones. Jalen Mills led the group with 51 snaps while Bryant logged 49. Jones was just behind them with 45. These three corners where the ones primarily on the field. Fourth-round rookie Jack Jones also played 22 snaps and gave those guys some rest when needed.
Total snaps: 22
WR Matthew Slater (18; 82%), LB Jahlani Tavai (18; 82%), S Cody Davis (18; 82%), S Brenden Schooler (15; 68%), LB Mack Wilson (14; 64%), S Jabrill Peppers (14; 64%), LB Raekwon McMillan (14; 64%), LB DaMarcus Mitchell (13; 59%), P Jake Bailey (12; 55%), CB/PR Myles Bryant (10; 45%), LB Josh Uche (8; 36%), LS Joe Cardona (8; 36%), DT Lawrence Guy Jr. (7; 32%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (6; 27%), S/KR Kyle Dugger (6; 27%), DT Carl Davis Jr. (6; 27%), RB/KR Pierre Strong Jr. (5; 23%), CB Jonathan Jones (5; 23%), G Cole Strange (4; 18%), OT Isaiah Wynn (4; 18%), G Michael Onwenu (4; 18%), OT Trent Brown (4; 18%), TE Jonnu Smith (4; 18%), S Adrian Phillips (4; 18%), K Nick Folk (4; 18%), OT Yodny Cajuste (4; 18%), TE Hunter Henry (3; 14%), LB Anfernee Jennings (3; 14%), WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey (2; 9%), CB Jalen Mills (2; 9%), LB Matthew Judon (1; 5%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (1; 5%)
Special teams made some plays in this one, but also saw Nick Folk miss a field goal from 52 yards out. Rookie Brenden Schooler made the big play recovering a fumble in just 15 snaps.
Matthew Slater, Jahlani Tavai and Cody Davis led the group with 18 snaps, as they remain the core of the special teams unit. Schooler was next as he was in 68 percent of the time with Wilson being on double-duty getting 14 additional special teams plays. DaMarcus Mitchell and Yodny Cajuste only saw the field in this part of the game.
Did not play
QB Brian Hoyer, CB Shaun Wade, OL James Ferentz, OT Justin Herron
These four guys dressed but did not receive any snaps at all. Brian Hoyer makes sense but it is interesting to see that Shaun Wade did not even get special teams work. This will be something to monitor as we move forward if he continues to be active on game day.
No offensive line rotation means no James Ferentz, and Justin Herron’s services were also not needed in this one.
QB Bailey Zappe, G Chasen Hines, DL Sam Roberts, CB Marcus Jones, S Joshuah Bledsoe
The New England inactives featured four rookies and the Bledsoe who is in his sophomore season. The only player on this list who played in the opener is Jones. The rookie finds himself inactive while Shaun Wade dressed instead this week.
Bledsoe is the only player here who popped up on the injury report at all this week. He logged three limited sessions throughout the week while the others were all healthy scratches.