Chandler Jones' injury limits his time on field for Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones left Saturday’s 27-20 playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter while chasing quarterback Alex Smith on a roll out to the sideline.

Smith gained 2 yards on the play with 6:29 remaining; Jones appeared to reach down toward his right knee, and he never returned to the game. Jones wasn’t in the locker room after the game when reporters were present.

“Any time one of your guys goes down, your heart goes out to them because you know these guys [have given] blood, sweat and tears all year since training camp, OTAs, all of those things,” Patriots linebacker Jonathan Freeny said of Jones.

The severity of the injury is not known, and Jones was one of three Patriots defenders -- along with linebackers Jamie Collins (back) and Jerod Mayo (shoulder) -- to not finish the game.

Jones’ status provides the springboard to analyze the snap-count totals from Saturday’s win:

Total offensive snaps: 59

Total defensive snaps: 89


Rob Ninkovich – 83

Jabaal Sheard – 64

Chandler Jones – 36

NOTES: Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia seemed to be rotating a bit more liberally than the norm early in the game, which was likely a plan to keep these top three pass-rushers fresh late in the game. There were 17 defensive snaps after Jones left with injury. Jones started, as there were no repercussions for him from last week. Ninkovich’s work setting the edge and containing Smith was notable. Overall, the 89 snaps played for the defense were a season high and reflected struggles on third down, where the Chiefs were 12 of 20.


Dont'a Hightower – 76

Jamie Collins – 43

Jonathan Freeny – 35

Dekoda Watson – 13

Darius Fleming – 10

Jerod Mayo – 7

NOTES: As Bill Belichick often says, any time a team has multiple injuries at one position, it’s generally going to hurt depth-wise. That’s why Watson, the six-year veteran who was re-signed in late December to help on special teams, was playing defense late in the game as Collins (back) and Mayo (shoulder) both went out in the third quarter. Freeny made his return and played with a cast after fracturing his wrist Dec. 13.


Malcom Brown – 54

Akiem Hicks – 42

Alan Branch – 38

Sealver Siliga – 14

NOTES: Brown and Branch started, with Hicks rotating in first, followed by Siliga. Because Hicks would sometimes stay on the field in passing situations (the Dominique Easley role), his total rose a bit over Branch.


Patrick Chung – 89

Devin McCourty – 89

Duron Harmon – 38

Jordan Richards – 3

NOTES: Chung’s work on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (six catches, 23 yards) had McCourty raving after the game, calling Chung one of the NFL’s best strong safeties. When the Chiefs had two tight ends on the field, the Patriots generally matched with a big nickel (three safeties). When it was three receivers for the Chiefs, the Patriots generally matched with a traditional nickel (three cornerbacks).


Malcolm Butler – 89

Logan Ryan – 89

Justin Coleman – 67

NOTES: It was notable to see Coleman, the undrafted rookie out of Tennessee, assuming the nickelback role over Leonard Johnson. Coleman returned for the first time since sustaining a concussion Dec. 27 and played well.


RT Marcus Cannon – 58

LT Sebastian Vollmer – 58

RG Shaq Mason – 58

LG Josh Kline – 58

C Bryan Stork – 42

C David Andrews – 17

NOTES: This group was a top storyline entering the game in terms of needing to play better, and it delivered. It also helped that the football was out of Tom Brady's hands quickly, with receivers uncovering quickly. Playing Mason at right guard in place of the injured Tre' Jackson (knee) was a switch, as he has mostly been on the left side when playing this season, with Kline mostly on the right in that pairing. That change-up worked well. Meanwhile, Stork left the game in the first half with an ankle injury, with Andrews coming on, but Stork returned fully in the second half. Andrews also took a snap as a goal-line fullback.


Brandon LaFell – 52

Julian Edelman – 51

Danny Amendola – 44

Keshawn Martin – 10

Matthew Slater – 4

NOTES: This was an “11 personnel” game -- as 47 of the first 50 snaps (non-kneeldowns) came with one back, one tight end and three receivers on the field -- so this was a day to tap the team's receiver depth. We haven’t seen the Patriots play that way on a consistent basis for some time, and the return of Edelman created the opportunity for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to take that approach.


Rob Gronkowski – 53

Michael Williams – 7

Scott Chandler – 5

NOTES: Gronkowski missed only one non-kneeldown play. Chandler's lone snap in a non-kneeldown situation came on Brady’s quarterback sneak for a touchdown when the Patriots went heavy at the goal line.


James White – 42

Steven Jackson – 17

Brandon Bolden – 4

NOTES: With a pass-first approach, it put White in position to be the “lead” back, as he excels in that area of the game. Jackson is the top power option, with Bolden returning to his core role on special teams.


Tom Brady – 58

NOTES: He was as fired up as ever, and as reporters were walking to the locker room post-game, chants of “Brady! Brady! Brady!” could be heard as fans were exiting the stadium through the concourse.