Safety Patrick Chung's return after missing seven games also had a trickle-down effect on special teams. With Chung playing every defensive snap, bumping James Ihedigbo into a reserve role, it freed up Ihedigbo to do more in the kicking game.
Last week, Ihedigbo was on one special teams unit (punt team). This week, he was on three (punt team, kickoff coverage, kickoff return), which is an area in which he excels.
A few other special teams notes:
1. With Rob Ninkovich (hip) knocked out of Sunday's game after the fourth series, fullback Lousaka Polite took his place in the wedge position on the kickoff return unit.
2. Linebacker Gary Guyton was added to the punt team to fill in for the injured Tracy White, while linebacker Dane Fletcher was added to the punt return unit to account for White's absence. This looked like a case where the Patriots used multiple players to fill White's "core" role.
3. Chung returned to his duties as personal protector on the punt team.
4. The Patriots leaned heavier on Sergio Brown, adding punt team duties.
5. Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington had their responsibilities reduced, as both came off the punt return unit.
A look at players who appeared on multiple units in the "Big 4" -- kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt return, punt coverage -- against the Bills: