LeGarrette Blount, Jonathan Freeny enjoy increased workload

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount had a career-high 29 rushes in Sunday’s victory, and in a reflection of the blocking in front of him, 65 of his 129 yards came before contact, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Entering the game, the Patriots had the fewest rushing yards before contact in the NFL (330).

The 6-foot, 250-pound Blount, who earned the ESPN.com NFL Nation game ball for his performance, made an impression on Washington.

“He’s a load, runs hard, and runs low,” defensive end Jason Hatcher said. “At the end of the day, we have to get him on the ground. He can’t run like that on us.”

Blount also made things happen after initial contact.

“You can’t arm-tackle that guy. I tried to arm-tackle him a few times and I just slid from the top to the bottom,” Redskins defensive end Ricky Jean Francois said. “You may want to cut him or chop him, but that hand-grabbing stuff isn’t going to stop him; he’ll still get another five or 10 yards.”

Blount’s production and increased workload, along with how the Patriots utilized their linebacker personnel in the absence of Jamie Collins (illness), stood out in this week’s snap-count analysis:

Total offensive snaps: 80

Total defensive snaps: 58


LeGarrette Blount – 48

Dion Lewis – 24

Brandon Bolden – 10

NOTES: Blount’s previous high for snaps played was 31 against Jacksonville. It was almost an even split at the half (Blount for 22, Lewis for 21) before Lewis’ injury at 5:20 of the third quarter changed things. Blount closed it out and Bolden, who had played a total of 20 offensive snaps entering season, assumed the passing-back duties.


C David Andrews – 80

LT/RT Cameron Fleming – 80

LG/RG Josh Kline –80

LG Shaq Mason – 74

LG/RT Bryan Stork -- 46

LT Sebastian Vollmer – 41

NOTES: The initial plan was for Stork to rotate in at both guard spots, as he was at left guard for the fourth series, but those plans were scrapped when Vollmer left the game with a head injury after the Patriots’ fifth drive. Stork ultimately kicked out to right tackle, where he was competitive. … Andrews is the only Patriot to play every snap this season.


Julian Edelman – 74

Brandon LaFell – 60

Danny Amendola – 40

Matthew Slater – 2

Aaron Dobson – 2

NOTES: LaFell has quickly become the team’s No. 2 option since returning from the PUP list and said, “My foot felt pretty good in warm-ups. It wasn’t giving me a lot of pain like it usually does.” … Edelman, who was probable on the injury report, didn’t seem to be affected by his knee.


Rob Gronkowski – 78

Michael Williams – 36

Scott Chandler – 25

NOTES: The Patriots opened the game in the two-TE package with Gronkowski and Chandler, and when the Redskins matched in nickel, they ran against it with success. When Williams came on, the Redskins switched to a base defense as he is less of a pass-catching threat than Chandler. All three tight ends were used together 14 times as it helped to get bigger at the line of scrimmage when managing the short-handed situation along the offensive line.


Tom Brady – 79

Jimmy Garoppolo – 1

NOTES: The only play Brady wasn’t on the field for was the final kneel-down at the end of the game.


Jonathan Freeny – 57

Dont’a Hightower – 36

Jerod Mayo – 13

Jon Bostic – 10

NOTES: With Jamie Collins out with an illness, Freeny essentially stepped into his role, at one point leading the huddle while Hightower remained on the sideline. Mayo was the No. 3 option and played a handful of snaps paired with Freeny when there were just two linebackers on the field.


Malcolm Butler – 58

Logan Ryan – 58

Justin Coleman – 55

NOTES: The Patriots were in their three-cornerback nickel package for the majority of the game. Ryan now has 11 career interceptions since he was drafted in the 2013 third round and leads the team with four.


Devin McCourty – 58

Patrick Chung – 45

Duron Harmon – 20

Jordan Richards – 15

NOTES: The Patriots dressed eight safety/linebacker types, but the back end of the depth chart -- Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, Brandon King and Dewey McDonald -- played exclusively on special teams. ... Harmon left the game with less than a minute to play with an undisclosed injury and his status bears monitoring.


Chandler Jones – 50

Rob Ninkovich – 47

NOTES: With Jabaal Sheard missing his third straight game, this spot has essentially been a throwback to recent years when it was the Jones/Ninkovich combo. Dominique Easley took some reps at end to lighten the load.


Dominique Easley – 30

Malcom Brown – 23

Akiem Hicks – 21

Alan Branch – 18

Geneo Grissom – 14

Sealver Siliga – 10

NOTES: Siliga’s drop on the depth chart the last three weeks has been notable, as Brown -- the 2015 first-round pick -- is getting the opportunity to play more. … Grissom, the third-round pick from Oklahoma, came on as an interior rusher in obvious passing situations.