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Snap Counts: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills

Our weekly dive into playing time data and what it suggests the Bills are up to—Prime-time edition!

The Buffalo Bills hosted the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. Through three quarters the Bills managed to keep the game within striking distance. Inevitably, the Patriots broke through to the end zone. A Buffalo offense that had done nothing all game responded by doing worse than nothing. Let’s dive into playing time. It has to be less depressing than the final score.

Offense (64 snaps)

OK, I was wrong. Right away the snap counts remind us that Derek Anderson was injured at the end of the game. (Marcus Murphy saw one snap, missed his block, and Anderson ended up injured.) We’ll be watching that situation closely as the quarterback room was already bare bones when it included Anderson. Keep an eye on Dion Dawkins as well, as he was looked at by trainers. He returned to the game without missing a snap, so hopefully there’s no bad news there.

Patrick DiMarco hit the field twelve times, which is a higher than usual. In contrast, there were no extra linemen used for a jumbo package. Cam Phillips hit the field again, but did not see any change in playing time. In general the skill position players remained stable this week.

Defense (76 snaps)

Another injury to monitor will be the concussion sustained by Tremaine Edmunds. With a short week to prepare for the Chicago Bears, the Bills might be better served preparing backup Julian Stanford rather than rushing back Edmunds.

Trent Murphy was out for this game and his usual 60-70% of playing time was distributed mainly between Lorenzo Alexander and Shaq Lawson. Lorenzo Alexander also continued to spend time as a defensive tackle and logged his highest snap total of the year in this game. Alexander used the extra time wisely with two sacks, a forced fumble, and six combined tackles. Jordan Phillips’s time has slowly crept up since joining the team on October 3rd.

Special Teams (28 snaps)

The list above includes players who saw 30% or more of special teams snaps. In total, 36 players took the field on special teams, which has been pretty typical this season. The group above has been mostly stable as well. Lorenzo Alexander continued to be a core player on this unit even with the extra time on defense. Micah Hyde has seen a little extra time with special teams in the last couple weeks. This is likely a result of his reliability as a punt returner being needed.