Snaps: Aqib Talib plays 45 of 58

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Snaps played by Patriots defenders in the team's 24-20 loss to the Panthers, while analyzing what it means (as charted in press box, small margin for error):

LB Dont'a Hightower – 58 of 58

DE Chandler Jones – 58 of 58

S Devin McCourty – 58 of 58

DE Rob Ninkovich – 58 of 58

DT Chris Jones – 54 of 58

CB Kyle Arrington – 50 of 58

S Duron Harmon – 47 of 58

LB Brandon Spikes – 45 of 58

CB Aqib Talib – 45 of 58

DT Joe Vellano – 42 of 58

DT Isaac Sopoaga – 40 of 58

CB Logan Ryan – 33 of 58

DE Andre Carter – 19 of 58

LB Dane Fletcher – 14 of 58

CB Marquice Cole – 12 of 58

S Nate Ebner – 3 of 58

LB Jamie Collins – 2 of 58

(Penalties included)

ANALYSIS: Talib came out of the game after deflecting a pass intended for Steve Smith with 5:47 remaining in the fourth quarter and did not return. The team announced he had a hip injury and the return, at the time, was questionable. … This was a game in which the Patriots were in their base 3-4/5-2 defense more than the norm, hence the high snap totals for defensive linemen/ends. Sopoaga had played 26 snaps in his debut, but saw his playing time spike to 40 because of the base-heavy plan. … The Patriots showed a dime look early and in a surprise had Ebner as the sixth defensive back over 2012 second-round draft choice Tavon Wilson. But that wasn't a big part of the plan as they mostly played nickel when in sub. … Hightower wore the green dot on his helmet, indicating he had the communication device in receiving the call from the sideline. Safety Steve Gregory, who missed the game with a broken thumb, had that responsibility the previous two games. … Harmon stepped in for Gregory and seemed to account well for himself in his most extended playing time of the season (47 snaps). He had played 125 defensive snaps entering the game.