June 23, 2022

Personnel usage reflects Patriots’ defensive struggles against Bills

The New England Patriots season ended last night with a 47-17 loss to the Buffalo Tickets.

As the score indicates, this was anything but a normal game for the Patriots. Although the team has been crippled by the same issues that have plagued them for the past six weeks, they have been forced into the game with new faces playing vital roles. Names like De’Vante Bausby, Justin Herron, Joejuan Williams and Justin Bethel continually appeared on the match report, as injuries decimated the secondary and sidelined teams starting at left tackle.

As mentioned above, the reason New England lost was due to their inability to overcome the same issues they encountered throughout the regular season’s home stretch. It is obvious, however, that the names that contributed to these obstacles seemed a little different.

Here’s the full report of the Patriots’ instant tally of their wildcard loss to the Buffalo Bills.


Total number of snapshots: 63

Mac Jones (63; 100%), G Shaq Mason (63; 100%), OT Trent Brown (63; 100%), C David Andrews (63; 100%), G Ted Karras (63; 100%), OL Justin Herron (63, 100%), WR Jakobi Meyers (56; 89%), WR Nelson Agholor (52; 83%), TE Hunter Henry (51; 81%), WR Kendrick Bourne (40; 63%), RB Brandon Bolden (24; 38%), RB Rhamondre Stevenson (23; 37%), TE Jonnu Smith (21; 33%), RB Damien Harris (17; 27%), FB Jakob Johnson (15; 24%), OT Michael Onwenu (11; 17%), WR N’Keal Harry (5; 8%)

Fighting to the end, the numbers on the Patriots’ offensive tally reflect those of a team that was forced to throw the ball. Mac Jones and the offensive line went the distance, playing all 63 offensive snaps. Justin Herron replaced Isaiah Wynn at left tackle and his 100% share of snaps reflected a game well played. Michael Onwenu has been relegated to a jumbo tight end role, having seen the pitch for just 11 snaps.

There was a clear division of playing time between skill position groups. Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne and Brandon Bolden were New England’s top five in offensive performance at skill positions. Another reflection of the type of game they’ve been forced to play, with all of these players tending to impact through the air.

Jonnu Smith, Damien Harris, Jakob Johnson, Michael Onwenu and N’Keal Harry led the way in offensive use, with none of them playing more than 35% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps. Players who have made their impact felt in the running game have not had the chance to do so in a game in which they have been trailing by multiple scores for more than 3 quarters.


Total number of snapshots: 56

S Devin McCourty (56; 100%), LB Kyle Van Noy (54; 96%), CB JC Jackson (51; 91%), S Kyle Dugger (46; 82%), LB Dont’a Hightower (45; 80 %), CB JoeJuan Williams (41; 73%), DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (41; 73%), S Adrian Phillips (38; 68%), LB Jamie Collins (34; 61%), DT Davon Godchaux (33 ;59%), DT Christian Barmore (33;59%), DT Lawrence Guy (30;54%), DB Myles Bryant (23;41%), LB Matthew Judon (22;39%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (18; 32%), DT Daniel Ekuale (16; 29%), CB Justin Bethel (13, 23%), CB D’Angelo Ross (8, 14%), LB Josh Uche (6; 11%), LB Jahlani Tavai (5.9%), CB De’Vante Bausby (3;5%)

The list above is a reflection of a defense in desperate need of a change. When something goes wrong, you try to fix it. That’s exactly what New England did throughout the game, fielding 21 players in total.

Of course, there were a few usual suspects at the top, with Devin McCourty, Kyle Van Noy, JC Jackson, Kyle Dugger and Dont’a Hightower leading with over 80% of defensive snaps played. There were, however, some noticeable differences in playtime compared to last week. Matthew Judon (-40%), Ja’Whaun Bentley (-52%) and D’Angelo Ross (-54%) saw the biggest declines, while Joejuan Williams (+49%), Christian Barmore (+18%) ), and returns from Dugger and Hightower saw the biggest increases.

Special teams

Total number of shots: 25

WR Matthew Slater (22; 88%), S Cody Davis (22; 88%), CB Justin Bethel (22; 88%), LB Jahlani Tavai (22; 88%), RB Brandon Bolden (15; 60%), LB Brandon King (15; 60%), S Adrian Phillips (12; 48%), WR Gunner Olszewski (12; 48%), DT Lawrence Guy (10; 40%), LB Jamie Collins (10; 40%), FB Jakob Johnson (9; 36%), P Jake Bailey (8; 32%), CB JoeJuan Williams (8; 32%), S Devin McCourty (7.28%), LB Dont’a Hightower (7.28%) ), DT Davon Godchaux (7, 28%), LB Josh Uche (7; 28%), DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (7; 28%), DB Myles Bryant (7; 28%), LS Joe Cardona (6; 24%), K Nick Folk (5; 20%), TE Hunter Henry (5; 20%), S Kyle Dugger (4, 16%), CB D’Angelo Ross (4, 16%), OT Trent Brown ( 3;12%), OT Justin Herron (3;12%), G Shaq Mason (3;12%), G Ted Karras (3;12%), OL Michael Onwenu (3;12%), LB Kyle Van Noy (3.12%), OL Yasir Durant (3; 12%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (1.4%)

Continuing to perform poorly, the Patriots’ special teams unit deployed 32 different players to special teams on Sunday. An increase of three players from the previous week, the unit continued to be rocked throughout the game and is expected to continue to be rocked in the offseason.

Did not play

QB Brian Hoyer, occupational therapist Yodny Cadjus

With the Patriots losing, it’s no surprise that Brian Hoyer was on the bench for New England throughout Saturday’s game. He was joined by reserve tackle Yodny Cadjuste as the only active players not to enter the game for New England at Buffalo.


OT Isaiah Wynn, LB Chase Winovich, WR Kristian Wilkerson, DT Carl Davis, RB JJ Taylor, QB Jarrett Stidham, TE Devin Asiasi

Reserve Covid-19: CB Jalen Mills, CB Shaun Wade

The Patriots were without their left tackle on Saturday, as Isaiah Wynn missed the game with a hip and ankle injury. He was the only Patriots with an injury designation to miss the game.

Chase Winovich and Carl Davis were scratched from the roster in favor of other players, while Kristian Wilkerson was a healthy scratch despite being called up from the practice squad. JJ Taylor, Jarrett Stidham and Devin Asiasi continued to serve as healthy scratches while their usual partner in crime Shaun Wade missed the game after being placed on the Covid-19 list. He was joined by No. 2 cornerback Jalen Mills who missed his only game of the season due to the virus.

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