• Sep 25, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Damarion Williams (22) tackles New England Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    Sep 25, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Damarion Williams (22) tackles New England Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    If you were expecting Kendrick Bourne to get another bump in playing time, welp.

    The Patriots’ most confounding mystery of 2022 continued on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, a 37-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens that featured a mix of good and bad for the offense. Bourne was relatively good – when he got the ball. But in a continuation of his confusing usage, Bourne was charted for just 17 offensive snaps against Baltimore. The number was especially stunning in light of the fact that the Patriots were without leading receiver Jakobi Meyers in the game.

    Yet despite seldom getting on the field, Bourne still caught four of five targets for 58 yards, both of which were second-best on the team. Technically, Bourne has been the Patriots’ second-best receiver in two of the team’s three games, despite playing the fewest snaps at the position.

    That dichotomy has only made the Bourne situation more mystifying.

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 25: Cornerback Marcus Peters #24 of the Baltimore Ravens tackles wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #84 of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 25: Cornerback Marcus Peters #24 of the Baltimore Ravens tackles wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #84 of the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

  • Here are the total offensive snaps for every skill position player on the Patriots, as charted by 985TheSportsHub.com. Note that these are unofficial numbers and do not include plays that resulted in penalties. Official snap counts have yet to be released as of Sunday night. But these totals are a very close approximation of the workloads on Sunday.

    DeVante Parker: 62
    Lil’Jordan Humphrey: 53
    Nelson Agholor: 48
    Hunter Henry: 45
    Rhamondre Stevenson: 40
    Jonnu Smith: 31
    Damien Harris: 24
    Kendrick Bourne: 17

    The obvious second-guess after the game is Lil’Jordan Humphrey’s 53 snaps, compared to Bourne’s 17. Humphrey made zero catches and was targeted only once in the game, despite playing more than triple the snaps of Bourne. And his lone target looked woefully sloppy, as he and quarterback Mac Jones clearly weren’t on the same page for a back-shoulder throw.

    Parker at least went a long way toward justifying his near-every-down role on Sunday, pulling down five catches for 156 yards in a breakout performance for the Patriots. But Nelson Agholor, like Humphrey, nearly tripled up Bourne in snaps and had only two catches for 41 yards and a lost fumble to show for it. His fumble, especially, was a killer, as he had caught a big pass over the middle and would’ve had the Pats threatening for a go-ahead touchdown.

    New England receiver Nelson Agholor , being brought down by Raven defender Kyle Hamilton, watches as his fumbled ball bounces away after a 28yard, 4th quarter run. The ball was recovered by the Ravens and ended Patriots chances of a comeback win. (The Providence Journal/Kris Craig)

    New England receiver Nelson Agholor, being brought down by Raven defender Kyle Hamilton, watches as his fumbled ball bounces away after a 28yard, 4th quarter run. The ball was recovered by the Ravens and ended Patriots chances of a comeback win. (The Providence Journal/Kris Craig)

  • To be fair, Bourne also fumbled the ball on the Patriots’ final possession, but was able to recover it. And he continued to put a happy face on what’s been a frustratingly quiet start for him.

    “I think the offense did well,” Bourne said after the game. “We spread the ball well, ran the ball well, it was kind of balanced, just attacked their weaknesses. But we’ve just got to make adjustments where we can and stop the turnovers.”

    There was certainly a theme that the Patriots feel they beat themselves in the loss. Between the offensive turnovers and the defense’s inability to prevent enough big plays against the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, there’s a case to be made that they blew a winnable game.

  • But there’s also a case that the Patriots’ offensive coaching staff beat themselves, and is beating themselves consistently early in the season. Because Bourne has produced when given the opportunity, which is more that can be said for players who are getting significantly more playing time.

    Bourne’s low snap count didn’t necessarily lose the game for the Patriots, but it’s impossible to argue that it helped.

    We’ll continue to monitor this situation and the rest of the Patriots’ offensive storylines here at 985TheSportsHub.com. Click here for complete New England Patriots coverage.

  • Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.