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Keeping track of shotgun usage

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the Patriots lost running back Kevin Faulk for the season with a torn ACL, one possibility mentioned in this space was that the Patriots might limit usage of the shotgun snap.

That was a bad projection.

The shotgun remains a big part of the Patriots' offensive arsenal. Last Sunday in Pittsburgh, for example, the Patriots used it on 22 of 67 plays. So while Tom Brady's usage of play-action produced a few big plays as he dropped back from center -- a 45-yard strike to Brandon Tate and a 9-yard touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski -- he was still in the 'gun one-third of the time.

The season breakdown (includes penalties and two-point conversions), which reflects how the Patriots are one of the NFL's heaviest shotgun-usage teams:

Total offensive snaps: 544

Total shotgun snaps: 236

Percentage: 43.3