As the New England Patriots savor their 54-13 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, (improving their record to 3-4 on the 2021 season) they continue to take stock into their performance on both sides of the ball. In the second of two meetings between the teams, New England’s Mac Jones completed 24 of 36 passes, compiling 307 yards with two touchdowns. Running backs Damien Harris and J.J. Taylor would contribute two touchdown runs each as the Pats dismantled their AFC East-Divisional Rivals.
Heading into their Week Eight matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers, there are plenty of areas in which the Patriots will seek improvement. While game-film analysis will be the main focus, a look at playing time may assist the Pats in helping to devise effective strategies moving forward.
Here is a look at the Patriots offensive and defensive snap counts from Sunday’s matchup, along with some possible insight on New England’s future game-planning.
On offense, the Pats snap count was 76 on Sunday:
The Pats offensive line enjoyed their most productive game of the 2021 season to date on Sunday. Isaiah Wynn, Michael Onwenu, Ted Karras and David Andrews took 100 percent of the Pats offensive snaps, while starting right guard Shaq Mason was on the field for 60 snaps, in his return to the lineup from an abdomen injury. Justin Herron, in a swing reserve role, played on 14 snaps, while standard elevation James Ferentz was present for 16 snaps. New England looked far more efficient in both run and pass protection than they have all season. The Patriots’ offensive line allowed just one sack and four quarterback hits. In run protection, the line provided the team’s runners the opportunity to rush for an average of 5.0 yards per carry, with Damien Harris averaging 7.6 yards per carry. Against a solid Jets’ defensive front, the offensive line more than held its own.
At tight end, Jonnu Smith’s snap count total does not tell the story of the manner in which the Pats hoped to utilize him on Sunday. The 26-year-old was heavily deployed as both a pass-catcher and backfield carrier in the first few drives for the Pats, before being removed from the game with a shoulder injury. Conversely, Hunter Henry continues to see more snaps than all potential Patriots pass catchers. Henry saw the field for 79 perfect of the Pats offensive snaps and three snaps on special teams.
The receiving trio of Jakobi Meyers (59 snaps), Nelson Agholor (43 snaps) and Kendrick Bourne (41 snaps) continue to pace the Pats wideouts. Bourne saw the biggest increase in on field action of the three, as he was used both in the middle of the field, as well as on vertical deep routes. N’Keal Harry saw a bit more time, as both a receiving option, as well as a blocker.
The standard for the running game was set by leading rusher Damien Harris, who made the most of the 35 offensive snaps, which he played on Sunday. Harris ran for 106 yards on 14 carries with two scores. In limited duty, J.J. Taylor took the field for only 20 snaps. However, the Arizona product rushed for 21 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps the standout of the group was veteran Brandon Bolden, who played 21 snaps on offense and 16 on special teams. Bolden would finish as the team’s leading receiver on Sunday, compiling 79 yards on six catches with one touchdown.
On Sunday, the Patriots took a total of 65 snaps on defense:
While the Pats did not deploy a defender on 100 percent of their snaps on Sunday, two of their top options at linebacker, Kyle Van Noy and Matt Judon saw the field for over 90 percent of the Pats defensive snaps. In the absence of Dont’a Hightower, Harvey Langi started in his stead, taking first-down run stoppage duty. Langi would leave the game with knee injury, finishing the day having taken only five defensive snaps.
The eye-opener on the defensive side of the ball. Safety Devin McCourty only took 18 defensive snaps before leaving Sunday’s game with an abdomen injury. Prior to his departure, he had been present for 99.8 percent of New England’s defensive snaps on the season. Adrian Phillips took the majority of snaps at free safety in McCourty’s place (53 total), with Kyle Dugger taking 54. Filling in for Jonathan Jones at slot corner, defensive back Myles Bryant compiled a forced fumble, a tackle for loss, and a sack on a corner blitz.
Rookie Christian Barmore took 41 snaps along the defensive line, leading all Pats’ defensive tackles. On Sunday, Barmore was one of the Patriots most productive defenders. He was credited with two quarterback hits and three total tackles. His ability to push the pocket has made him a disruptive force in New England’s pass defense.