He said the reason why so many starters sat on the bench was to get a better look at the rest of the guys further down the depth chart. Quarterback Tom Brady, wide receivers Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco and Deion Branch, tight end Rob Gronkowski, the entire starting offensive line, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, linebacker Jerod Mayo and cornerback Devin McCourty were among the 33 players who were held out of the action. Seventeen of the Patriots' inactives didn't dress, while 16 were in uniform but stayed on the sideline, including Brady.
"We didn't rest anybody," Belichick said. "There were players that we wanted to see play, and we looked at them and we let them play. There are only so many guys you can play in a game like this. We felt like it would be good to let some guys play, let them get into the flow of the game and play enough plays where they really got a chance to have an opportunity to show what they can do and play as opposed to putting them in for a couple series and then taking them out so somebody else could get in there. So we basically played two groups on both sides of the ball, and those guys got a lot of playing time."