Danny “Playoff” Amendola.
The receiver’s new charmingly on-the-nose nickname, bestowed upon him last week by Rob Gronkowski, sounds sillier each time you say it out loud. But Amendola continues to earn it by making play after play in massive moments. So clearly, Gronk’s onto something there.
Adding to a career already filled with memorably clutch playoff performances, Amendola took his flair for the dramatic to dizzying new heights in the Patriots’ 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. Amendola caught both fourth-quarter touchdowns to help Tom Brady complete his 11th career fourth-quarter playoff comeback win.
He also made a big-time catch on third-and-18 on the drive that led to his first touchdown, picking up 21 yards on arguably the most pivotal play of the entire game.
Finishing with seven catches for 84 yards and the two scores, Amendola now has 18 catches for 196 yards in two playoff games in the 2017 season. He once again showed why he’s one of the most trusted targets of Brady’s unparalleled playoff career. As the moments get bigger, so does he. And Sunday’s win was simply the latest entry into what’s becoming a legendary run of playoff heroics.
When asked what makes him able to step up his game in important situations, Amendola kept it simple and succinct.
“It’s a lot about preparation, circumstance, opportunity, being ready and no fear,” said Amendola. “Just get out there and get it done. That’s what we’re all about in this building.”
Especially without Rob Gronkowski, who had to leave the game due to entering the concussion protocol, Brady frequently looks Amendola’s way when he needs a big-time play. You can safely say that Sunday did nothing to change that. If anything, Brady’s unflappable trust in Amendola only grew.
“I’m always looking for him at some point,” said Brady of Amendola. “I mean, he’s a big part of what we do, so he’s never not part of what we’re doing. He’s a huge part of what we’re doing always.”
Gronkowski’s status for Super Bowl LII is now up in the air after suffering a likely concussion. With two weeks to heal before the game, he certainly has a chance of making it back on the field. But even without him, it’s easy to feel confident that Brady and the Patriots can make enough plays on offense to beat their opponent, no matter who’s on the other side of the field. And you can thank Amendola’s latest incredible day for that.
— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.