FOXBORO, Mass. — It would not be hyperbole to say Danny Amendola has been the New England Patriots’ best player this postseason.
After setting playoff career highs in catches and receiving yards in last week’s divisional-round win over the Tennessee Titans, the 32-year-old wide receiver was immensely productive again Sunday night, catching seven passes for 84 yards and two critical touchdowns as the Patriots rallied to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 in the AFC Championship Game.
Amendola, who also set up one of his own touchdowns with a 20-yard punt return and kept what proved to be the game-winning drive alive with a 20-yard reception on third-and-18, received overwhelming praise from his teammates after the game.
Running back Dion Lewis: “Amendola is a (expletive) animal. A (expletive) animal. I’m cursing, I don’t care. He’s a beast. He’s a beast, man.”
Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett: “Danny’s a dog. He’s a pit bull. He’s amazing. One of the greatest teammates I’ve had, honestly. With him on the team, he just gives you energy, and I’m just feeding off him. … Words can’t really describe how great Danny is.”
Running back Rex Burkhead: “He’s a baller. Last game, he had a great game, and this game, he had a great game. He’s always making plays.”
Wide receiver Matthew Slater: “Steady Eddie. You have these combines, you have these skills and drills — ‘This guy’s a great athlete.’ All the experts are going to tell you this guy can’t play or that guy can’t play. Danny goes undrafted, and you’ve seen his career. You can’t measure heart, and you can’t coach heart. You either have it or you don’t, and he has plenty of it. … If I’ve got to go in a foxhole, I’m going to take him.”
Cornerback Eric Rowe: “It’s not a surprise. I go against him in practice, and I hate it. He’s super tough to cover. He’s 32, but it doesn’t seem like it.”
Quarterback Tom Brady: “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.”
Head coach Bill Belichick: “Danny’s such a good football player. When you look up ‘good football player’ in the dictionary, his picture is right there beside it. It doesn’t matter what it is. Fielding punts, third down, big play, red area, onside kick recovery — whatever we need him to do. He’s just a tremendous player, very instinctive, tough, great concentration. He had some big plays for us (Sunday).”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images