From time to time, we will take a look at the snaps played by defensive players, as it can sometimes lead to a greater understanding of how the Patriots are employing their defenders. Here is how it broke down from the 49ers game:
(snaps include a Brandon Meriweather pass interference penalty, and an offensive pass interference penalty on Arnaz Battle)
ANALYSIS: This was an ambitious plan, as the Patriots substituted in this game more than any other in recent memory. Their plan seemed to be to keep inexperienced 49ers QB J.T. O'Sullivan off balance by showing him a variety of different looks. ... With such in-and-out action, it's a credit to the players and coaches that the Patriots never got caught with 12 men on the field. The operation/communication on the sideline between the players and coaches was obviously good. ... It's also a credit to the players' willingness to accept a team-based approach, as some (e.g. Tedy Bruschi) had a more limited role than usual due to the expanded use of sub packages. ... The Patriots essentially played five different packages -- the base 3-4, a 3-3-5 nickel, a 4-2-5 nickel, a 1-4-6 dime, and a 2-3-6 dime, and had assigned specific players to specific packages. ... The defense also mixed its personnel at times in those packages, again likely to confuse O'Sullivan. ... It appeared that Adalius Thomas had the communication device in his helmet, which would make sense as he played in every snap. ... Much of the second half was played in the dime, which explains why players like Jarvis Green and Gary Guyton had higher snap totals than Richard Seymour and Tedy Bruschi. ... Randy Moss' one snap came at the end of the first half when the Patriots were preparing for a possible Hail Mary, which he also did last season.