Patriots: Danny Amendola Proving to be Valuable Weapon


It wasn’t easy, but the New England Patriots made plays when they had to, and walked away with a hard-fought 30-23 victory over the New York Jets.

Tom Brady (34-54 for 355 yards and two touchdowns, while also leading the team on the ground and scoring a one-yard rushing touchdown) and Rob Gronkowski (a career-high 11 receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown) will deservedly receive a ton of credit for the Patriots’ fourth quarter comeback. However, do not forget the role that wide receiver Danny Amendola played.

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Amendola finished the afternoon with an impressive eight receptions for 86 yards, including catching the fourth quarter touchdown pass that put the Patriots up for good. Brady’s numbers should have looked much better from the game, but the Patriots (namely Brandon LaFell) struggled mightily with drops throughout the afternoon. Even Julian Edelman had a bad drop early in the game that should have been an easy touchdown.

Gronkowski and Amendola were the only two receivers who Brady could count on to consistently catch the ball on Sunday. While most of his career in New England has not gone how anybody had expected, Amendola is really starting to come into his own with the Patriots.

It started with his incredible performance in the playoffs last season. Brady trusted Amendola in the biggest spots in that Super Bowl run, and he did not let the team down. His success from late last year has bled into this season, and Amendola is now becoming one of Brady’s most trusted targets. With Edelman dealing with some injury issues, Amendola is becoming the Patriots’ slot receiver extraordinaire.

Amendola’s touchdown catch came with just over seven minutes to go in the game, and the Patriots trailing 20-16. On a big 3rd and 6 near the goal ling, Amendola raced in on a quick in cut, leaped high in the air for the catch on a Brady laser pass and caught the ball in traffic. It was an impressive play by the smaller Amendola.

That was a great play by Amendola, but it was far from his most impressive catch on the afternoon. That play came on the very next drive, and the Patriots were looking to add to their lead.

With Brady bringing the Patriots near mid-field, he lined-up in shotgun and dropped back again. Amendola was lined-up in the slot to the right of the formation, and ran a deep out past the first down marker. The pass from Brady sailed a bit, looking to be un-catchable for the smaller Amendola.

That being said, as you can see in the video below, Amendola flies high into the air and makes an incredible catch falling on to his back. It only showed up as a 13-yard reception in the box score, but it was a great catch.

Amendola continued to be a weapon on that drive, catching another pass for 11 yards and one more for a gain of seven. His last reception on the drive set-up a 15-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Gronkowski that pretty much sealed the deal for the Patriots.

With Edelman getting the Darrelle Revis treatment on the afternoon, the Patriots needed another receiver to step up. The returning LaFell was not up for the job, but luckily for the Patriots, Amendola was ready to step-up once again.

The Patriots’ passing attack is going to represent a lot of opportunity. Sure, Gronkowski and Edelman are going to get theirs, but Amendola is proving to be the true third option in Brady’s arsenal. That could lead to some huge success for him this season. Most importantly, the Patriots know they can count on him going forward.

Next: Belichick Chosen as Best Coach in NFL

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