The New England Patriots entered their Week 3 bout with the New York Jets missing significant talent in their cornerback room. Three of their top five players at the position, after all, were unavailable because to injury: Jonathan Jones was ruled out for a second straight game because of an ankle injury, while both Jack Jones and Marcus Jones now reside on injured reserve.
This meant that the only regulars available against the Jets were rookie Christian Gonzalez and fourth-year man Myles Bryant, who ended up playing 62 of 63 defensive snaps each. In addition, the team used career backup Shaun Wade (38; 60%) as a third option and also rotated safety Jalen Mills (23; 37%) into the slot on occasion.
Despite the makeshift nature of the group, it was able to get the job done. Jets quarterback Zach Wilson went just 18-for-36 for 157 yards, and was unable to get into much of a rhythm outside of one touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. New York’s No. 1 wide receiver, 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, was held to four catches for 48 yards.
Granted, the Wilson-led Jets do not pose the greatest threat in the NFL — far from it — but the shorthanded Patriots still had to win their battles. More often than not they did.
As for the other usage-based takeaways from the Patriots’ 15-10 win over the Jets, here is our weekly snap count report.
Total snaps: 72
QB Mac Jones* (72; 100%), LT Trent Brown* (72; 100%), C David Andrews* (72; 100%), RG Michael Onwenu* (72; 100%), RT Vederian Lowe* (72; 100%), TE Hunter Henry* (62; 86%), WR DeVante Parker* (55; 76%), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster* (53; 74%), RB Rhamondre Stevenson* (47; 65%), LG Cole Strange* (44; 61%), WR Kendrick Bourne (40; 56%), TE Mike Gesicki* (34; 47%), LG Atonio Mafi (28; 39%), RB Ezekiel Elliott (27; 38%), TE Pharaoh Brown (25; 35%), WR Demario Douglas (17; 24%)
Besides starting quarterback Mac Jones, four of the five members of the Patriots offensive line also played all 72 offensive snaps against the Jets. The only exception was left guard Cole Strange, who left in the third quarter because of a knee injury and was replaced by rookie Atonio Mafi for the game’s final 28 snaps.
The O-line also saw another change. After starting the previous two games at right tackle, Calvin Anderson was relegated to backup duty. In his place, Vederian Lowe received his first career start at right tackle — one week after getting his first career start at left tackle.
The skill positions saw a heavy dosage of the tight end position. Hunter Henry led the way with 62 snaps, followed by Mike Gesicki’s 34 and Pharaoh Brown’s 25; the latter, of course, made the most of his time on the field and ended the game with two catches for 71 yards and a touchdown.
At wide receiver, meanwhile, the Patriots used DeVante Parker and JuJu Smith-Schuster as their one-two punch but they failed to turn opportunity into production: Parker caught two passes for 19 yards on 55 snaps, with Smith-Schuster catching only one 5-yard pass on his 53. Most productive among the team’s wideouts, however, was Kendrick Bourne with four receptions for 46 yards. Demario Douglas, who was benched last week after a fumble, chipped in 17 snaps as well as one 15-yard catch and a 5-yard carry.
A majority of carries, of course, went to running backs Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott. The two were once again the only backs used in the game, combining for 35 carries and 139 rushing yards. Ty Montgomery, the nominal RB3, played no offensive snaps versus New York.
Total snaps: 63
S Kyle Dugger* (63; 100%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley* (63; 100%), CB Christian Gonzalez* (62; 98%), CB Myles Bryant* (62; 98%), S Jabrill Peppers* (60; 95%), ED Matthew Judon (42; 67%), DT Christian Barmore (41, 65%), DT Lawrence Guy Sr.* (40; 63%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (40; 63%), LB Jahlani Tavai* (38; 60%), CB Shaun Wade (38; 60%), ED Josh Uche (26; 41%), S/CB Jalen Mills (23; 37%), ED Anfernee Jennings* (19; 30%), ED Keion White* (18; 29%), DE Sam Roberts* (18; 29%), DT Davon Godchaux* (11; 17%), DT Daniel Ekuale (10; 16%), LB/S Marte Mapu (7; 11%), LB Mack Wilson Sr. (6; 10%), S Adrian Phillips (6; 10%)
Besides the cornerback rotation outlined above, the Patriots used their usual cast of characters in the secondary. This meant Kyle Dugger and Jabrill Peppers as the starters, with Jalen Mills, Marte Mapu and Adrian Phillips also contributing on a handful of snaps.
New England also went business as always at the second level of its defense; Ja’Whaun Bentley led the way — playing all 63 snaps — with Jahlani Tavai as the No. 2 alongside him. Rookie Marte Mapu also aligned off the ball on four of his seven snaps, with Mack Wilson returning to the defensive side of the ball after being used exclusively in the kicking game last week.
Also new to the lineup were edge Anfernee Jennings and defensive lineman Sam Roberts. Both were healthy scratches in Weeks 1 and 2, but activated against the Jets and immediately entering the ranks of starters. Jennings finished with 19 snaps, five tackles, and a quarterback hit, while Roberts had two tackles.
The rest of the defensive lineup looked mostly the same as it has the previous two games, with the main exception being Davon Godchaux playing only 11 snaps. The veteran defensive tackle suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter and was later ruled out; with him sidelined, Christian Barmore, Lawrence Guy and Roberts saw an increased workload.
Total snaps: 31
S Brenden Schooler (25; 81%), LB Chris Board (25; 81%), WR Matthew Slater (25; 81%), LB Jahlani Tavai (23; 74%), LB Mack Wilson Sr. (23; 74%), RB/WR/KR Ty Montgomery II (23; 74%), S Adrian Phillips (18; 58%), S/PR Jabrill Peppers (16; 52%), CB Ameer Speed (15; 48%), S/KR Kyle Dugger (14; 45%), P/H Bryce Baringer (13; 42%), LS Joe Cardona (13; 42%), DT Lawrence Guy Sr. (12; 39%), TE Pharaoh Brown (11; 35%), LB/S Marte Mapu (10; 32%), K Chad Ryland (9; 29%), CB Christian Gonzalez (8; 26%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (7; 23%), ED Keion White (7; 23%), G Michael Onwenu (5; 16%), OT Trent Brown (5; 16%), G Cole Strange (5; 16%), G Atonio Mafi (5; 16%), OT Calvin Anderson (5; 16%), OL Jake Andrews (5; 16%), WR/PR Demario Douglas (4; 13%), CB/KR Myles Bryant (3; 10%), DT Christian Barmore (2; 6%), TE Hunter Henry (1; 3%), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (1; 3%), TE Mike Gesicki (1; 3%), RB Ezekiel Elliott (1; 3%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (1; 3%)
Including the three specialists, the Patriots employed 10 players exclusively on special teams: Brenden Schooler, Chris Board, Matthew Slater, Ty Montgomery, Ameer Speed, Bryce Baringer, Joe Cardona, Chad Ryland, Calvin Anderson and Jake Andrews were only used in the game’s third phase. For the aforementioned Montgomery and Anderson, that was a change of usage compared to the last two weeks.
Also changing was the face of the return game. With All-Pro punt returner Marcus Jones on injured reserve, rookie Demario Douglas was the first man up. After he bobbled the first punt in rainy conditions, however, the team inserted Jabrill Peppers. Both ended up fielding three kicks, with two returns.
The team also opted for a rotational approach at kick returner. Ty Montgomery lined up back on three snaps, same as Kyle Dugger. Myles Bryant also had one rep filling that role.
Did not play
QB Bailey Zappe
The Patriots’ backup quarterback was the only player to dress but not enter the game. Zappe also was on the DNP list each of the previous two games.
QB Will Grier, CB Jonathan Jones, OL Sidy Sow, OT Tyrone Wheatley Jr., WR Kayshon Boutte
Five players were deactivated, with Jonathan Jones (ankle) and Sidy Sow (concussion) both missing a second straight game because of injury. The other three inactives were all healthy scratches, including recent quarterback addition Will Grier who would have been allowed to enter the game as an emergency QB had Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe both become unavailable.