Patriots’ personnel packages and snap counts certainly vary from week to week and opponent to opponent. Each week WEEI.com will take a look at New England’s snap counts from that particular game and break down not only what they meant in that week’s matchup, but also what trends might be developing with certain players’ playing time.
Here are a few takeaways from the Patriots snap count totals from Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the 49ers at Gillette Stadium:
--The Patriots played a season-low 52 offensive snaps against the 49ers, a logical result for a team that turned the ball over four times, converted just one of six third downs and lost the time of possession battle 38:23 to 21:37.
--Offensive linemen David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Isaiah Wynn and Michael Onwenu were the only Patriots who played all 52 offensive snaps. Andrews played the entire game after returning from his stint on IR with a broken thumb.
--Damiere Byrd played 48 snaps (92 percent), once again most among New England wide receivers for the sixth straight game to open the 2020 season.
--Jakobi Meyers saw his play time explode against San Francisco, at least in part to N’Keal Harry leaving the game with a head injury after just 11 snaps. Meyers played 41 snaps (79 percent) against the 49ers and took advantage, notching team highs with six targets and four receptions for 60 yards. It was the second-year receiver’s most productive game since last October. Meyers had been buried on the thin WR depth chart to open this season, playing no more than eight offensive snaps in any game before Sunday. That could and maybe should change moving forward based on his production against San Francisco.
--Even with Harry out, Julian Edelman remained the third Patriots receiver in terms of snap counts. Edelman was on the field for 31 plays (60 percent) against San Francisco. He was not targeted on a throw until the second half, finishing with one catch for 13 yards. His two other targets resulted in interceptions for Cam Newton (deflected off Edelman’s hands on a throw behind him) and Jarrett Stidham.
--Damien Harris continues to put up a high rate of production per snap played. Harris was on the field for 21 snaps (40 percent) against the 49ers, finish with 10 carries for 58 yards and one reception for 12 yards in that action.
--While Devin Asiasi was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career, fellow mid-round rookie tight end Dalton Keene made his NFL debut with 24 snaps (46 percent) against the 49ers. He also notched his first career reception for 8 yards on his only target. Keene’s snaps were a higher percentage play time than Asiasi had in any of the first five games this season, although New England has now used a rookie tight end for 40-plus percent snaps in three of the last four games.
--After missing practice this week – though it was not injury related – James White had a pretty small role against the 49ers, playing a mere 10 snaps (19 percent). White had just one catch for 3 yards and did not have a rush attempt. It’s the first time White played in a game but did not record a rushing attempt since the 2018 postseason against the Chargers and first time in the regular season since 2017.
--The Patriots defense was on the field for 66 defensive snaps against the 49ers, the most in a game this season. Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore were the only New England defenders to play all 66 snaps against San Francisco.
--Though the Patriots started in a “base” defensive look with just four defensive backs on the field, the unit still threw a lot of secondary players at the 49ers. Six defensive backs played 50 percent or more of the defensive snaps.
--Adrian Phillips played a season-high 55 snaps (83-percent) against San Francisco, a result of rookie safety Kyle Dugger being inactive with an ankle injury. Phillips tied for second on the team with seven tackles, including six solo stops.
--Safety Terrance Brooks played 27 snaps (40.9 percent), his most since opening day. This was also tied into the Dugger injury.
--After playing more than 50 percent of snaps over each of the first four weeks of the season, Chase Winovich has seen his playing time fall dramatically over the last two weeks. Winovich played just a season-low 13 snaps (19.7 percent) against the 49ers. ESPN.com surmised that Winovich may have been the missing man on down that New England played with just 10 defensive players against the 49ers and that such an error may have resulted in less playing time.
--Rookie Anfernee Jennings earned his second consecutive starting nod and played a season-high 53 snaps (80.3 percent), nearly doubling his work from a week earlier. Jennings finished with six tackles.
--Though Deatrich Wise Jr. earned his first start of the season, his 30 snaps (45 percent) were in line with his usual work to date this year. Wise did not record any defensive statistics in his playing time.