The New England Patriots are back in the playoff hunt.
Following their 27-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14 at State Farm Stadium, the New England Patriots continue to take stock of their performance on both sides of the ball.
After putting in far better performances in Weeks 12 (a 33-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings) and 13 (a 24-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills), there are still plenty of areas where the pats are going keep looking for improvements. While feature film analysis takes center stage, looking back at game time can help the team develop effective strategies for the future.
Here’s a look at the Patriots’ offensive snap counts, along with some possible insight into New England’s game planning going forward.
On offense, the Pats snap total was 59 against the Cardinals.
Quarterback Mac Jones was the only non-offensive lineman to go the distance in Week 14. The 24-year-old was under constant pressure again, with several of his pass attempts coming at or behind the line of scrimmage. The majority of his passing game repertoire consisted of both fast screens and swing plays. Jones finally finished the game after rushing for 235 yards without touchdowns and a 24-of-35 interception.
New England’s O-Line played Arizona from start to finish, snapping all 59. While the unit mostly avoided egregious negative stats, Left Trent Brown continued with his recent struggles. Not only was Brown responsible for a handful of missed blocks, but he was also accused of allowing a Mac Jones sack and was called out for a false start penalty.
Lead running back Rhamondre Stevenson was limited to just 13 snaps after suffering an ankle injury in the first quarter. In his place, rookies Pierre Strong (19 snaps) and Kevin Harris (29 snaps) were New England’s only healthy rushers on the gameday list. The pair rose to the occasion, averaging 96 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.
With Jakobi Meyers missing Monday night’s game while on concussion record, wideout DeVante Parker was expected to take the top spot at that position. However, he was limited to just six offensive games before ending the game with a head injury. As a result, Nelson Agholor led all receivers with a season-high 57 snaps, followed by rookie Tyquan Thornton (52 snaps) and Kendrick Bourne with 42.
Tight end Hunter Henry got the most snaps from this position and was involved in 66 percent of the Pats’ offensive plays. Henry also led all pass catchers with three catches for 70 yards, two of which were for 30 and 39 yard gains respectively. Jonnu Smith made 28 offensive snaps, mostly as an inline blocker. Smith failed to lock up either pass that was thrown in his path.
On defense, the total number of pats snaps was 75 against the Cardinals.
Cornerback Jonathan Jones was the only Pats defenseman to play every defensive snap. Despite a solid day of reporting, Jones was flagged for two penalties, one for a pass interference penalty and the other for illegal contact. Rookie Jack Jones was limited to just six games after exiting the game in the second quarter with a knee injury.
Safeties Kyle Dugger and Devin McCourty were involved in 85 percent of defensive snaps in New England. While McCourty typically played a full game, he missed part of the fourth quarter while being checked for a shoulder injury.
Defensive end Deatrich Wise again led all linemen with 48 snaps. However, tackle Larewnce Guy (37 snaps) was the standout inside, recording four total tackles (one for the loss) and 0.5 sacks. Nose Tackle Dazu Godchaux occupied the center for just over half of Pats’ defensive plays.
Team captain Ja’Whaun Bentley led the linebackers’ depth chart by taking 60 snaps. However, the night belonged to the fearsome pass-rush tandem of Pats of Matthew Judon (54 snaps) and Josh Uche with a season-high 48 snaps. The Michigan product finished the night with a total of five tackles (three for losses) and three sacks. Reserve linebacker Raekwon McMillan made the most of his 19 snaps, recovering a Cardinals fumble and returning it 23 yards for the touchdown.
While Mac Jones, Jonathan Jones and the Pats’ beginning offensive line may have gone wire to wire for their respective units, rookie Marcus Jones was a true Iron Man for New England in Week 14. The ex-Houston Cougar continues to emerge as the Patriots triple threat after seeing the field through all three phases. Jones recorded 67 defensive snaps and had five tackles, a pass defended and an interception. He also participated on 11 special teams while returning a punt for seven yards and two kicks for 42 yards. Most recently, Jones made eight snaps on offense and caught a pass for 12 yards.
The Patriots will remain in the West for the week, training at the University of Arizona on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before taking on Josh McDaniels and the Raiders (5-8) at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, December 18.
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