New England Patriots praise the performance of Danny Amendola
New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola received praise from many people, including opponents, for his performance in the AFC Championship game.
The New England Patriots are loaded with talent on the offensive side of the ball. Tom Brady leads the way and has a ton of weapons at his disposal.
When people think of the Patriots offense, and Brady’s weapons, names like Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks come to mind. Dion Lewis has taken over the backfield and performed well as the lead back.
However, the player who has had the biggest impact and comes through during the clutch has been wide receiver, Danny Amendola. Amendola may not have the name recognition some of his teammates have, but when the game matters most, Amendola is where Brady goes.
Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Amendola was a key component of the comeback victory. With Gronkowski taken out of the game because of a helmet-to-helmet hit prior to halftime, New England needed someone to step up. That someone. was Amendola.
Amendola did a little bit of everything for the Patriots. He caught seven passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns. Amendola even completed a pass for 20 yards, and have a 20-yard punt return that set up the Patriots go-ahead touchdown. which Amendola caught.
That performance landed Amendola some high praise from Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick.
"“Danny’s such a good football player,” coach Bill Belichick said. “When you look up ‘good football player’ in the dictionary, his picture is right there beside it.”"
Amendola showed just how good a football player when it mattered most in the fourth quarter. Amendola caught five of his seven passes, and both touchdowns, in the second half. That is also when he completed his pass on a trick play and had his punt return.
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In two playoff games thus far this year, Amendola has caught 16 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. All of those stats lead the team in the postseason. When asked about how he does it, Amendola responded with a simple answer.
"“No fear,” Amendola said of his playoff mentality. “Just get out there and get it done.”"
One of the many occasions that Amendola got it done was on a third-and-long in the fourth quarter. Needing 18 yards to keep the drive alive, Amendola made an impressive 21-yard diving catch to keep the offense on the field.
It was a big play, as the Patriots were trailing by 10 at the time and there was just under 11 minutes remaining in the game. Amendola finished the drive with a 9-yard reception for a touchdown.
It was a play that turned the tide for the Patriots, something Jaguars’ safety Tashaun Gipson admitted to.
"“That play kind of gave them momentum,” said Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson, who was beaten on the play."
While that third down catch was impressive, Amendola’s best reception was his second touchdown. He toe-tapped in the back of the end zone, putting the Patriots ahead and giving them a come from behind victory.
It was a play that impressed Brady, who also praised the work of his leading receiver.
"“He’s made so many big plays for us, and that was huge,” Brady said of the second touchdown. “Without that, we don’t win. It was an incredible play.”"
Incredible is certainly one way to describe the play. Amendola has been pretty incredible throughout the postseason and has remained an integral part of the Patriots game plan despite the other skill position players getting healthier.
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How will Amendola look to top what he has done in the AFC Championship game in the Super Bowl? We will have to watch and find out on February 4th!