Saints' Week 6 snap counts

The glaring number that stands out most from the New Orleans Saints’ Week 6 snap counts is 86. That’s the total number of snaps they played on defense in Sunday’s 30-27 loss to the New England Patriots – way more than they had all season. The previous high was 60.

That’s a result of several factors. The Patriots ran a whopping 47 plays in the first half when they put together several long drives, while the Saints offense went three-and-out three times. Then, of course, the Patriots tacked on eight more plays in the final 1:13 in the fourth quarter when they got one last crack at a game-winning hurry-up drive.

The Saints defense actually held up well despite the heavy workload. They held the Patriots out of the end zone on eight straight possessions from the second quarter through that final drive. At times they looked a little gassed when the Patriots broke off some big run gains late in the first half. But they rallied well in the second half and gave the Saints an excellent chance to pull off a come-from-behind victory.

It was that 86th snap that killed them, though, when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hit receiver Kenbrell Thompkins in the back of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass with five seconds remaining.

Here’s the Saints' full participation report from Sunday’s game, according to the NFL's official stat book, with some of my thoughts below:

Offense (65 snaps)

QB Drew Brees 65

G Jahri Evans 65

G Ben Grubbs 65

C Brian De La Puente 65

T Charles Brown 65

T Bryce Harris 65

WR Marques Colston 48

TE Jimmy Graham 45

WR Kenny Stills 41

RB Pierre Thomas 34

TE Benjamin Watson 32

WR Nick Toon 31

RB Darren Sproles 28

FB Jed Collins 26

WR Robert Meachem 21

TE Josh Hill 8

RB Khiry Robinson 8

RB Travaris Cadet 3

Thoughts: Those were actually the first three offensive snaps of the season for Cadet – and he made the most of them. The second-year running back scored his first career touchdown on a 3-yard pass in the first quarter. … Second-year right tackle Bryce Harris also seemed to hold up well as a replacement for injured starter Zach Strief. I’ll take a closer look at Harris when I do my film review in the coming days. But I don’t remember him ever being beaten noticeably during the game and thought he held up well when I made a point to watch him specifically at times.

Defense (86 snaps)

LB Curtis Lofton 86

S Malcolm Jenkins 86

S Kenny Vaccaro 86

CB Jabari Greer 84

CB Keenan Lewis 80

OLB Junior Galette 74

DE Cameron Jordan 73

LB David Hawthorne 72

FS Rafael Bush 62

DE Akiem Hicks 49

LB Ramon Humber 48

DE Glenn Foster 36

OLB Parys Haralson 24

DE Tom Johnson 20

DT John Jenkins 19

CB Corey White 15

DE Keyunta Dawson 11

LB Kevin Reddick 7

DT Brodrick Bunkley 7

CB Chris Carr 4

LB Will Herring 2

Thoughts: The Saints used their linebacking corps way more than ever in this game, often featuring a 3-3 front. Inside linebacker Ramon Humber, in particular, played a ton of snaps (48). He responded with four tackles, a half-sack and two quarterback hurries. ... Outside linebacker Parys Haralson (24) also played more than usual, in part because the Saints left fellow OLB Martez Wilson inactive. Meanwhile, the nose tackles didn’t play nearly as much in this game (John Jenkins, 19 snaps, Brodrick Bunkley, 7). … Newly signed veteran end Keyunta Dawson got thrown right into the mix with 11 snaps – mostly because starter Cameron Jordan went down briefly with an unspecified leg injury. I noticed Dawson bringing pressure during Malcolm Jenkins’ sack on one blitz.