ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The offensive snap counts from Monday night’s Patriots win over the Bills game look a bit different. Because of New England’s commitment to the run game, several players had their reps skewed.
Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers, for example, was on the field for a season-low 53 percent of the offense’s snaps. Meyers typically ranks atop the list, as he is the team’s most-targeted receiver.
Tight end Hunter Henry, the team’s most popular target in the red zone, played just 29 percent of the offense’s snaps, by far his lowest percentage of the season. Neither Meyers nor Henry logged a target for the first time all year.
Tight end Jonnu Smith, meanwhile, was on the field for a season-high 76 percent of the offense’s snaps — a number reflective of his role in run blocking. Smith also had one of New England’s two receptions, hauling in an impressive one-handed grab for a first down at the end of the first quarter.
Left guard Michael Onwenu also assisted with the blocking efforts, serving as a jumbo tight end/sixth offensive lineman. Onwenu was on the field for 61 percent of the offense’s snaps, his most since getting bounced from the starting lineup following the return of right tackle Trent Brown.
Every starting offensive lineman played 100 percent of the snaps for just the third time this season. Their efforts certainly did not go unnoticed.
“For the offensive line to do what they did was incredible,” quarterback Mac Jones said. “They deserve all the credit in the world.”
At last, a rest
The Patriots will now begin their bye week, part of the last group of NFL teams to have their break. Players are expected to report to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday before having Thursday through the weekend off.
The team will return for another tough conference matchup against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 18.
Asked if the bye week is happening at “the right time,” coach Bill Belichick spoke generally.
“Whenever the bye week comes, it comes,” Belichick said Tuesday morning. “Whatever time we have, whatever that is, at any point, is beneficial if we use it productively. If we don’t, then it’s not. Hopefully, whatever time we have, whether it’s a bye, not a bye, short week, long week, whatever it is, that we use the time productively, help ourselves, and help our team improve.”
At least two Patriots could use the rest. Running back Damien Harris (hamstring) and safety Adrian Phillips (knee) both left Monday night’s game with injuries and could not return.
Guy could be Man
Defensive tackle Lawrence Guy is New England’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year, which annually honors volunteer and charity work. The winner will be announced at the NFL Honors ceremony ahead of Super Bowl LVI.
Said Guy, in a statement: “It’s an absolute honor to be chosen as the Patriots 2021 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee. My wife and I strive to give back to the community and to have this platform in the NFL creates a huge opportunity. I am honored to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as Walter Payton who left such a great legacy on this game.”
Nicole Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.