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Wilkerson and Richardson Played Most of the Game....Did It Cost Them?

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Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

One of the keys to Sunday's loss to the Patriots was how the pass rush fell off late in the game. It seemed like fatigue might have been an issue. Tom Brady dropped back around 60 times in the game. Trying to get upfield with 300 men pounding on you that many times is bound to take a toll and create some fatigue. You also have to remember these passes were not spread out evenly over the course of the game. The Jets controlled the ball early in the game. These New England passes came in rapid succession during the most critical portion of the second half.

The reason I bring this up is something that sticks out when reviewing snap counts. Muhammad Wilkerson played 94% of the snaps. Sheldon Richardson player 87%. Leger Douzable only played 9. I get that Wilkerson and Richardson both usually carry heavy snap loads. I also get that New England's tempo on offense makes it difficult to substitute at times. If Tom Brady sees one of the defense's best players on the bench, he might run his offense at a pace that keeps said player on the bench. With that said, it feels like the Jets did not make full use of their excellent depth up front, and it might have cost them. The flip side of the tempo argument is a bunch of pass plays when they are against an up tempo offense will tire out big defensive linemen even quicker.

I cannot help wonder whether part of the reason the Pats were so pass heavy was to try and wear out the Jets' front. Was Todd Bowles outfoxed a bit? He wouldn't be the first opposing coach Bill Belichick did that to.

Full defensive snap totals are below.

Player Position Snaps Percentage
David Harris LB 67 100%
Demario Davis LB 67 100%
Darrelle Revis CB 67 100%
Antonio Cromartie CB 66 99%
Marcus Gilchrist FS 66 99%
Muhammad Wilkerson DE 63 94%
Sheldon Richardson DT 58 87%
Leonard Williams DE 47 70%
Calvin Pace LB 45 67%
Buster Skrine CB 42 63%
Damon Harrison NT 37 55%
Calvin Pryor SS 35 52%
Dion Bailey SS 28 42%
Quinton Coples LB 24 36%
Marcus Williams CB 12 18%
Leger Douzable DE 6 9%
Stephen Bowen DE 6 9%
Jamari Lattimore LB 1 1%