FOXBOROUGH — According to the statistics provided by the Patriots, linebacker Brandon Spikes has never had a better game in the NFL than the one he had last week against the Bengals, with an interception and a career-high 22 tackles.
Funny, because the game before that, at Atlanta, Spikes was on the field for only six defensive snaps.
Spikes’s playing time has fluctuated wildly this season: just 16 snaps in the opener at Buffalo, followed by 31 (Jets), 37 (Buccaneers), 6 (Falcons), and then 59 against the Bengals. He’s played in 42 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps through five games; last season, Spikes played 72 percent of the time.
Inconsistent playing time can be frustrating for any player, especially for someone in a contract year — like Spikes is — looking to earn the next big pay day. How’s he dealt with the snap count uncertainty? Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.