Danny Amendola put together his own version of a show-stealing cameo Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Playing in his first game since undergoing offseason surgery on his knee and ankle, Amendola was on the field for just 19 of the New England Patriots’ 71 offensive snaps against the Arizona Cardinals, less than half that of starting wide receivers Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan and 20 fewer than rookie wideout Malcolm Mitchell.
Amendola made the most of his limited playing time, though, catching three passes for 48 yards during one critical fourth-quarter drive. That possession culminated in a go-ahead Stephen Gostkowski field goal that proved to be the game-winner in a 23-21 Patriots victory.
“I felt good,” Amendola told reporters after the game. “It took me a play or two to get the speed down, but it was fun. We had a lot of fun (Sunday night), and we are happy right now.”
Facing a third-and-15 and trailing Arizona 21-20, Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo delivered a 32-yard strike to Amendola to move the chains, absorbing a heavy hit from Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones in the process.
It was one of three third downs the Patriots successfully converted on the drive and Amendola’s first reception of the ballgame. He went on to haul in additional receptions of 13 and 3 yards to help set up Gostkowski’s 32-yard boot.
“The line did a great job, first of all, giving me that time,” Garoppolo told reporters. “Third-and-15, you’ve got to let your guys get down the field, and Danny found the opening in the zone. It was a great job by him. He made it a pretty easy throw for me, and he made a nice catch, too. It was a good day all around.”
Edelman caught seven passes for 66 yards to lead the Patriots, who were playing without injured tight end Rob Gronkowski. Hogan finished with three receptions for 60 yards and one touchdown, while Mitchell chipped in with two catches for 33 yards and running back James White hauled in five for 40 yards.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images