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When Danny Amendola signed with the New England Patriots, many thought he would be the heir apparent to Wes Welker. But Julian Edelman's emergence kept Amendola down on the depth chart.

Even though many people have written him off as a bad signing, you can point to a couple of games this year that the Patriots might very well have lost if not for Amendola coming up big when his number was called.

Today's playoff game was one of those games.

Amendola had 5 catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Including a 51 yarder from fellow wide receiver Julian Edelman. He also returned five kicks for 125 yards. Throw out his fumble on one of those kickoffs that the Patriots recovered and he had himself a pretty nice game.

But while the stats look good on paper, they just don't convey how big of a difference he made in this game. His two touchdowns capped off two separate 14 point comebacks. On his first touchdown he broke a tackle at the 10 and then raced towards the end zone, totally selling out with the big leap into the end zone to make sure he wouldn't be denied.

He also made what should have been a game changing play in the first quarter. He made a diving catch that initially was ruled a catch. It was overturned on a Baltimore challenge but it was a questionable overturn. The Pass from Tom Brady was off and he made an incredible play to catch it. If it stood, it would have been first down. Instead it was fourth down and a punt with Baltimore scoring quickly afterwards to go up 14. But the refs made his great effort moot with their call.

Amendola is tough. He makes big plays when called upon and has played through the public outcry of his limited playing time. He's never pouted and demanded more playing time. He just goes out there and makes plays. The New England Patriots are playing in their fourth straight AFC Championship game next week, thanks in part to Amendola.

While his salary might not allow him to be back with the team next year one thing is for sure, Amendola can play for me any day. If he happens to move on in the offseason then the best of luck to him. But one thing is for sure, the New England Patriots will not be a better team without him.

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Thome 1/10/2015 09:03:00 PM Edit
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