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Bengals vs. Patriots snap counts: Defensive tackles see increased playing time

Snap count distribution among the defensive line changed pretty dramatically this week.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

The Bengals were able to keep it close with the Patriots for longer than anyone probably thought going into the game, but ultimately, the final score ended up looking like what everyone did expect.

There were some interesting changes from the norm as far as the team’s snap counts goes, though. Did any of those play into Cincinnati falling short?

Snap count takeaways from the Bengals loss to the Patriots

  • The snap count battle between Cincinnati and New England was rendered meaningless with the Bengals turning the ball over five times on the day, but Cincinnati ran 66 plays while New England ran 65. Prior to Andy Dalton’s meltdown in the second half, the Bengals were actually doing pretty well at keeping drives alive and getting the Patriots off the field (outside of the first drive).
  • The first thing that jumps out is the snaps for the defensive tackles. Geno Atkins usually plays 50 to 70 percent of the snaps, as they prioritize keeping him fresh. This week, he played 60 snaps, which was almost every play. Andrew Billings (52) and Josh Tupou (34) were out there for awhile as well. This may have been done because rookie defensive tackle Renell Wren on injured reserve this week, but you’d think the Bengals would utilize Sam Hubbard (54) more at defensive tackle in that rotation. It is hard to say whether the interior got worn down at some point, but the constant turnovers in the second half probably didn’t help keep that rotation fresh.
  • Speaking of Hubbard, his return marked the end of extended snaps for Carl Lawson (30). Lawson played most of last week’s game against the Browns, but he returned to his situational role this week. Lawson, Hubbard and Carlos Dunlap (54) were the largest reason for the defense having success. They got to Tom Brady regularly. Those three should have a few more good years together rotating in for each other.
  • Offensively the Bengals did something interesting. They had four tight ends and four wide receivers active on the day. At tight end C.J. Uzomah (46), Tyler Eifert (36) and Cethan Carter (32) each played over 30 snaps. That leads right into Tyler Boyd (57) and Alex Erickson (50) playing most of the snaps at wide receiver. John Ross III (25) still appears to be on a snap count of sorts. Head coach Zac Taylor was critical of his wide receivers not winning one-on-ones during the game, but you can’t ask Erickson to win a one-on-one battle with almost anyone in that secondary, which means the defensive back on Boyd can focus on the underneath since the safety over the top can help him out. Personnel helps a scheme work.
  • The split at cornerback has been strange recently. Darqueze Dennard (48) not having as many snaps at B.W. Webb (57) isn’t the strangest thing going on. It is the fact that Greg Mabin (5) has been playing while Darius Phillips only had a single defensive snap. Phillips was playing quite well before his stint on injured reserve, but since returning he has also been eased in very slowly. Dennard returning also limits Phillips’ amount of possible snaps, but Mabin getting the few opportunities over Phillips is strange.

Bengals snap counts against Patriots

# POS. NAME Snaps Percentage of snaps
# POS. NAME Snaps Percentage of snaps
83 WR Tyler Boyd 57 86
17 WR Stanley Morgan 6 9
12 WR Alex Erickson 50 76
15 WR Damion Willis DNP DNP
18 WR A.J. Green DNP DNP
11 WR John Ross 25 38
77 OT Cordy Glenn 66 100
68 OT Bobby Hart 66 100
74 OT Fred Johnson 10 15
71 OT Isaiah Prince DNP DNP
67 OG John Miller 39 59
60 OG Michael Jordan 66 100
64 OG John Jerry DNP DNP
66 C Trey Hopkins 66 100
53 C Billy Price 27 41
87 TE C.J. Uzomah 46 70
85 TE Tyler Eifert 36 55
82 TE Cethan Carter 32 48
86 TE Mason Schreck 1 2
14 QB Andy Dalton 66 100
7 QB Jake Dolegala DNP DNP
5 QB Ryan Finley -- --
28 RB Joe Mixon 44 67
25 RB Giovani Bernard 22 33
32 RB Trayveon Williams 1 2
96 DE Caros Dunlap 52 80
94 DE Sam Hubbard 54 83
93 DE Andrew Brown 3 5
58 DE Carl Lawson 30 46
97 DE Anthony Zettel -- --
97 DT Geno Atkins 60 92
99 DT Andrew Billings 52 80
91 DT Josh Tupou 34 52
92 DT Freedom Akinmoladun DNP DNP
59 LB Nick Vigil 57 88
57 LB Germaine Pratt 49 75
56 LB Hardy Nickerson Jr. 7 11
50 LB Jordan Evans 7 11
55 LB LaRoy Reynolds -- --
22 CB William Jackson 65 100
21 CB Darqueze Dennard 48 74
29 CB Tony McRae -- --
20 CB Torry McTyer DNP DNP
23 CB B.W. Webb 57 88
26 CB Greg Mabin 5 8
23 CB Darius Phillips 1 2
36 S Shawn Williams 65 100
42 S Clayton Fejedelem 4 6
30 S Jessie Bates III 65 100
41 S Trayvon Henderson -- --