<
>

Malcom Brown over Sealver Siliga at DT as Patriots focused on stopping run

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots' defensive intentions in Sunday's 30-23 win over the New York Jets were clear early to opposing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

“They always do a great job of taking away your best players, so they were going to try to take away [running back] Chris [Ivory]. And they had two guys on [receiver] Brandon [Marshall] all game,” Fitzpatrick relayed.

In doing so, the Patriots played more snaps in their base 4-3 defense than the norm, giving them a sturdier box. In coverage, they had cornerback Logan Ryan most often on Marshall (with help), leaving cornerback Malcolm Butler on receiver Eric Decker.

With the focus on run defense, the team’s usage of big-bodied defensive tackles stood out in this week’s snap-count analysis.

Specifically, opening-night starter Sealver Siliga played a season-low 10 snaps after appearing to struggle consistently staying in his gap Oct. 18 against the Colts. Rookie Malcom Brown started over him, while veteran Alan Branch also started and seemed to bring his A-game.

Total offensive snaps: 67

Total defensive snaps: 72

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Malcom Brown -- 34

Alan Branch -- 31

Dominique Easley -- 28

Akiem Hicks -- 23

Sealver Siliga -- 10

NOTES: Playing with power and technique, this group helped create a wall at the heart of the line of scrimmage, as Ivory finished with 17 carries for 41 yards (2.4 avg.). Brown (2 solo, 1 assist), Branch (2 solo, 1 assist) and Siliga (0 solo, 3 assist) were each credited with three tackles.

DEFENSIVE END

Chandler Jones -- 72

Rob Ninkovich -- 70

Geneo Grissom -- 4

Trey Flowers -- 4

NOTES: Ninkovich was credited with four pass breakups as he did a solid job getting his hands up in the passing lane on some of Fitzpatrick’s low-trajectory deliveries, while Jones got the game off to a good start for the Patriots by forcing a fumble on the Jets’ first drive to create three quick points. The limited snaps for Grissom and Flowers came in obvious passing situations; they were specialized pass-rushers, as Jabaal Sheard (ankle) was inactive.

LINEBACKER

Jamie Collins -- 72

Dont'a Hightower -- 71

Jonathan Freeny -- 22

Jerod Mayo -- 1

NOTES: Mayo doesn’t officially get credit for a defensive snap for being on the field in the goal-line package when the Jets were called for a false start, but he gets that credit here. This rotation highlights how he is No. 4 on the depth chart. He also played just one special-teams snap, while newly acquired Jon Bostic didn’t play on defense (but was on for 19 special-teams snaps). Hightower was impressive with the physical edge he brought the defense and was credited with 10 tackles.

SAFETY

Devin McCourty -- 72

Patrick Chung -- 65

Duron Harmon -- 7

Jordan Richards -- 7

NOTES: Unlike some past games when the Patriots brought in a fifth defensive back in nickel, it was a cornerback, not a safety, which explains the season-low seven snaps for top backup Harmon. This is probably tied to the Jets having limited threats in the passing game at tight end. Chung continues his strong play against the run and pass (e.g., breakup in end zone while covering Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland).

CORNERBACK

Malcolm Butler -- 72

Logan Ryan -- 72

Justin Coleman -- 52

Rashaan Melvin -- 4

NOTES: This group had its challenges, but as usual competed hard. Some more consistent pass rush up front would have helped, but there will be some good coaching points from a technique perspective for them to take from this game.

OFFENSIVE LINE

C David Andrews -- 67

RT Cameron Fleming -- 67

RG Tre’ Jackson -- 67

LG Josh Kline -- 67

LT Sebastian Vollmer -- 67

G/FB Ryan Wendell -- 1

NOTES: In part because there were just six linemen activated for the game, one fewer than the norm, the Patriots didn’t adopt the rotation they have in prior games this season. Wendell’s one snap, in his debut this season, came at the goal-line as a fullback.

TIGHT END

Rob Gronkowski -- 67

Michael Williams -- 15

Scott Chandler -- 7

NOTES: A season-low for Chandler, the free-agent signing from the Bills, as the Patriots didn’t favor many two-tight-end sets. Instead, the Patriots majored in the three- and four-receiver packages, which the Jets generally matched in their nickel defense with a six-man box.

WIDE RECEIVER

Julian Edelman -- 66

Danny Amendola -- 57

Brandon LaFell -- 48

Aaron Dobson -- 23

NOTES: The one snap Edelman didn’t play was on the goal-line when quarterback Tom Brady sneaked it in with a 1-yard leap. This was Amendola’s best game of the season, as he played the first half as primarily the No. 3 option before getting more work as the No. 2 option in the second half (over LaFell) as he heated up. The Patriots ran 16 overall plays with all four receivers (and Gronkowski) on the field, which was different from the norm.

RUNNING BACK

James White -- 43

LeGarrette Blount -- 8

NOTES: By forgoing the traditional running game, it made this a contest in which the “passing back” was the primary option from a playing-time perspective. White stepped in for Dion Lewis, and while he doesn’t have the same short-area quickness and explosion, he seemed to account well for himself in the key area of blitz pickup. There were 16 plays without a running back on the field (4 receivers, 1 tight end instead).

QUARTERBACK

Tom Brady -- 67

NOTES: The Patriots put the ball in his hands, calling just six traditional running plays and spreading things out. It was another reminder of the greatness of Brady.