The offensive line and QB Tom Brady played every snaps
Brady, LT Nate Solder, LG Joe Thuney, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, and RT Marcus Cannon played all 67 offensive snaps. While Mason allowed a huge sack up the middle and Solder allowed a sack around the edge, I honestly thought the line played far better than I expected against the Seahawks; I don’t think we heard Seahawks ED Cliff Avril’s name once.
OT Cameron Fleming added 7 plays as an extra blocker.
The skill players all played less than usual
TE Rob Gronkowski (57, 85%), WR Julian Edelman (53, 79%), and TE Martellus Bennett (44, 66%) were the team leaders, which is a good sign for Bennett’s health.
RB LeGarrette Blount (37, 55%), WR Chris Hogan (32, 48%), RB James White (29, 43%), WR Danny Amendola (27, 40%), FB James Develin (22, 33%), and WR Malcolm Mitchell (20, 30%) all played rotational roles. Develin was far more active than one would expect against the Seahawks, while Hogan was limited. Hogan usually leads wide receivers in snaps.
WR Matthew Slater added 7 plays as an extra blocker.
ED Trey Flowers played a lot, while ED Jabaal Sheard was benched
Flowers led the edge defenders with 61 snaps (87%), a change of usage for the sophomore. ED Rob Ninkovich (46, 66%) and ED Chris Long (37, 53%) played a reserve role. It was ED Jabaal Sheard (16, 23%) that dropped off the map with just four snaps in the second half.
LB Elandon Roberts held down the starting linebacker role on his own
I thought that Roberts (58, 83%) might share the linebacker role in the absence of Jamie Collins, but Roberts joined LB Dont’a Hightower (70, 100%) in playing most of the snaps. LB Shea McClellin (16, 23%) is the only other linebacker to see the field.
DT Malcom Brown and DT Alan Branch continue to play too much
Brown (49, 70%) and Branch (48, 69%) need to cut their load to around 30 snaps per game because the Patriots were getting gashed by the Seahawks anemic rushing attack. DT Vincent Valentine played 18 snaps (26%) and should see a slight increase moving forward.
The Patriots have found their starting secondary
Well, at least for now. SS Patrick Chung and FS Devin McCourty played all 70 defensive snaps, while CB Malcolm Butler and CB Logan Ryan played 68 snaps. CB Justin Coleman (44, 63%) was the nickel corner, while S Duron Harmon (29, 41%) played a smaller role against the Seahawks wide receiver sets. S Nate Ebner added 2 snaps in the goal line package.
The following players had 15+ snaps on special teams:
Nate Ebner (23), Geneo Grissom (23), Patrick Chung (20), Shea McClellin (18), Matthew Slater (17), Brandon Bolden (17), Brandon King (17), Jonathan Jones (15), Jordan Richards (15), Barkevious Mingo (15- Mingo is usually a core special teams player and this is low for him)